Obligatory life update

Sep 6, 2008 • Karen

Wow, it's been a month. What all have I been up to?

* I just started officially working part-time at SPARC, doing various interesting projects. I'll be animating a OA 101 video in Flash (now that my tablet pen is no longer borked), editing several HD videos of people talking about Open Access (on a Mac G4! I'm slightly frightened--it may not even be faster than my decrepit PowerBook), helping organize the Digital Repositories conference in Baltimore this November (including designing the program and signage; yay for flexing my ancient InDesign skills!), and redesigning the Alliance for Taxpayer Access site.

* I also started teaching my first LSAT class at Kaplan. So far it's been going fairly well, other than an extremely chaotic first day where the manager had to take off for an emergency and didn't do the full orientation and I had no idea what the hell I was doing. The students seem to assume that I do know what the hell I'm doing, and I think they're learning. I get so nervous preparing before lessons, though.

* I finished my first freelance web design project, for a inflatables rental company in northwestern Virginia. Here's the before; here's the after. My responsibilities were pretty much limited to making things not broken, as opposed to suggesting web strategy, editing copy, or changing the site design more extensively. But hey, it's done. Here's hoping I actually get paid!

* I have other freelance projects in the pipeline as well: Jennifer's father owns a biocide chemical company whose site needs a redesign, and I'll be revamping Nelson's personal site and Wrong Side of Dawn's site soon. So that's good. I guess.

* Between all of these jobs, I'm working around 54 hours a week: 3 days a week (including Saturday) at Kaplan, 2.5 days a week at SPARC, and the freelance stuff...all the rest of the time. Even though most of my work is doing things I enjoy, I'm still feeling the lack of a barrier between work and life. Add in the fact that despite all this work every time I do my budget calculations I get a different answer regarding whether or not I can pay my bills, and it gets rather unpleasant. I'm not sure what I can do about it, though.

* Speaking of budgets, medical bills may yet be the death of me. First I had to go to the doctor twice in eight days (don't ask). Then, a painful back problem I developed earlier this summer (thanks to my laptop bag) recurred starting a few days ago. The first time, Nelson's dad (a chiropractor) was able to fix it when we visited NJ. (He was astonished how messed up my back was--apparently pretty much all my vertebrae and most of my ribs were out of whack. Said he hadn't seen a case that bad that wasn't caused by some major athletic-type injury.) Since then, however, I (stupidly) continued using the bag, and now it's back.

Today I sucked it up and bought a new laptop bag that's better for my back. It's a nice bag, and looks professional enough that I won't feel weird wearing it on the Metro, but spending eighty dollars on a goddamn backpack has put me in an extremely foul mood. Hopefully the new bag will keep the problem from getting worse, but thanks to my Kaplan schedule I have virtually no chance of visiting Nelson's parents in any reasonable amount of time. Thus, either I can put up with periodic symptoms of painful breathing and being unable to lift weighty objects, or break my budget further and pay $??? (uncovered by my health insurance) to see a chiropractor here. Haven't made a decision on that one yet.

* And then Nelson and I stopped by the Apple Store today. I lusted after all the shiny new computers that run faster than mine and can run Parallels so I could do my own goddamn IE testing for freelancing jobs instead of relying on Nelson (and being unable to test IE 6 even then). Shiny new computers that I may not ever be able to afford, except with law school loan money. At which point I won't be doing pretty CPU-intensive webthings with them anyway. Grah.

I know I have plenty of other things going for me, but right now I feel stressed out, overcommitted, and poor. I guess that's what this post is about.