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Monday, July 20, 2015

Projects Incomplete

I've been working out like a fiend for more than three weeks now, doing brutal inclined sit-ups and high-intensity sessions on a variety of machines that leave my tshirt heavy with sweat and my feet feeling like my tennis shoes are lined with lead. And if anything, my belly is paler and more flabby than when I began. I'm so white I'd probably glow under a black light. And my abs, never a significant feature, still repose under the snowbank. Outside, it's hot as blue blazes--when having your house thermostat set at 80 gives you the impression of stepping in to a refrigerator when you go in your front door, you know it's warm in the great wide open. And parking lot asphalt magnifies this scorching effect--usually about this season is when the local paper runs a picture of people demonstrating that yes, you really can cook an egg on the sidewalk.

I spent Saturday and today in my garage, determined to finish some of the many projects that have accumulated there over the past year or more. I stained and varnished a table, stripped the finish off an antique organ stool, measured all my wood lamp bases, fixed three that were damaged, drilled a vase for a lamp, and cleared out some odds and ends, putting tags on them for consignment. And I made a bunch of magnets. And I restrung a friend's necklace. I know I was convicted of my habitual idleness, having been around Grandmommy for three days previous--she is always up and doing, though her feet have really started to pain her. My aunt is arranging for her to be assessed for surgery on the toes that are giving her fits--the discomfort (and Grandmommy is not one to mention discomfort) is sufficiently severe to prevent her from going on her daily walks and it keeps her awake at night.

The placement company for the Vietnamese schools sent me a contract. But, it is so general and vague that it's not signable. There is no definition of terms like teaching hours (an academic hour is an inconsistent beast, occupying 45 minutes in some parts of the globe and more than twice that elsewhere), and how teachers are evaluated and how they are housed and equipped isn't specified. I've had to handwash bluejeans before, boil water for a "bath" (sponging out of a bucket) and use outhouses abroad--I'd rather not be committing myself to two years of such. I want to know the size of the apartment, whether it has AC and a refrigerator, how much laundry will cost, how far it is on foot to the primary school and how far again to the secondary school. I've asked most of these and other questions to the recruiter, and haven't gotten answers. This is itself alarming. I don't want to fly halfway around the world to find myself in a hot hole without modern facilities, at least not without compelling reason, and I don't have one for Vietnam right now.

I have emailed other schools, and applied for several domestic gigs in the last week, but perhaps everyone is on vacation, because it's like bellowing into the vacuum of space.


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