I would like to add an addendum to my last post. “We don’t really need one in the summer” was an inaccurate assessment of our need for a dryer, because it rains in Iowa ALL THE TIME! Not like a little drizzle here and there. But like thunder and lightening – oh my God, the world is coming to an end – rain storms. During my first (and so far, only) week in Iowa, it rained stormed at least half of the time. And of that time, we lost power most of the time.
As the first big storm started to roll in, the horizon turned dark blue and lurched upon us as fast as a freight train. Sim was convinced that, buried somewhere in the midst of that storm, was a tornado. He rattled off various theories about light and noises. In Sim’s mind, you can hear – but not see – a tornado coming. I told him to get his dumb ass out of the front lawn before he got struck by a bolt of lightening. And a minute later, because he didn’t listen to me, the power went out, thus rendering it impossible to close the garage door. Once inside, Sim referenced the movie “Twister” and his growing knowledge of tornados. While skeptical, I still peeked outside, half expecting to see a cow fly by in mid-air.
That night was spent in complete darkness, aside from the light of a candle. And that week’s storms taught us many lessons.
Always keep your eye on the horizon; within 5 minutes it could change color and signal a storm of grandiose proportions. Upon seeing said change in color, complete the following tasks within 5 MINUTES, and not a second longer!
1) Let the dogs out to pee before all hell breaks loose.
2) Fill up as many water containers as possible (in addition to those spares that should always be on hand). 6 dogs drink a lot of water, you know.
3) Fetch the laundry before it blows all over what will become hell’s half-acre.
4) Close the garage doors. There is a way to do this manually, but standing in a dark garage on slippery concrete (thanks to the rain that violently blows in at an angle) seems like a foolish thing to do, so close them while the power is still on.
5) Wait for the power to go out any second.
6) Enjoy sitting in darkness for hours on end.
As if a PhD program wasn’t going to be hard enough, now I have to schedule my unyielding workload around mother nature? Sure, I can always read. As long as graduate classes include sometimes 10 books, along with dozens of scholarly journal articles – just for ONE of THREE courses, in addition to reading copious amounts of research to formulate your own papers for each class – there will always be reading to be done. And don’t forget about footing the bill for all this – there are classes to be taught! This means reading intimately knowing a textbook so you don’t act a fool in front of your students, not to mention always returning home to a mountainous stack of papers to grade. This workload is enough to drive even Hitler mad. Oh, you thought he was busy burning in hell? This is it. In hell, you are assigned as a lifelong graduate student. You will keep reading, writing, reading, writing, reading, writing, until you go mad. You will write 19,257 papers that all need revisions. You will work on your dissertation for a million years, but never finish. And you will NEVER earn the satisfaction of having “Dr.” precede your name. Welcome to hell, Hitler.