adventure, alaska, bassoon, beach, beer, books, chores, cleaning, creative, credit card, freelance, herring, Howard Zinn, immoral self-indulgence, J.D. Salinger, money, ocean, organization, Permanent Fund Dividend, PFD, photography, procrastinate, seafood industry, sitka, student loan, taxes, travel, vacation, wine, work, writing
Not to blow my own bassoon, but I have accomplished a crap ton in the last 36-ish hours.
I attacked the mundane, habitual and unsavory demons of dishes, laundry and recycling as a way of procrastinating the more complicated tasks.
I progressed to filing two sets of taxes (with the help of TurboTax) and applying for my first ever Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend(!). What will I do with my very own oil revenue check? – I’m thinking a method study of Daniel Plainview in “There Will Be Blood.”
Emboldened by the tasks that make me money, I paid an eversoslightly overdue credit card bill, a non-overdue credit card bill, titled/registered Goldie and paid for another six months of auto insurance. I cleaned out my emails, gutted some file folders and can now see the faux wood grain of my desk.
I shopped for a new mattress which put me in the uniquely awkward situation of lying on a bed in an empty room at the “storage warehouse,” alone, save for the furniture store owner who drove me there standing nearby. I thought I had outgrown these scenarios.
I researched health care providers, called Mom, clipped my fingernails and cut my bangs. I mourned Howard Zinn and J.D. Salinger with an extra tip of the wine bottle and threw a full wine glass of water on some flames creeping out of my kitchen thermostat.
I am still procrastinating. My most rewarding tasks – the creative ones like writing or editing/printing/matting/framing photos – take a whole different type of energy, so somehow they get left for last. My great struggle is to be as effective at working for myself as I am for places that give me a paycheck. Speaking of those sweet, sweet paychecks, I calculated the numbers. Between the months of January and September 2009, I worked 13 hours short of the equivalency of a 40-hour week year (50 weeks x 40 hrs = 2,000 hrs) at the seafood plant. Doing it my way, however, paid overtime and left time for freelance writing in the fall and traveling in the spring and winter. For as much as I earlier have professed to hate this industry, I understand its draw.
As most of you know, I have worked in Alaska every summer except one since 2000. I would work a summer, then turn my collective wages over to the university on one spindly signed piece of bank paper with trembling, tendonitis-numbed hands.
But because of that early naivety (and the low, low costs of Idaho in-state tuition), I sent a check today that will pay the remaining balance of my student loan!!
I type this all not to be a braggart, but because I’m particularly taken with my boom and bust lifestyle. I have just returned from a heap of vacationing and adventuring, and I am coming up (a bit early) on the busy part of my year. The part where I work most every day straight through until September.
Boom v. Bust
But before I start up that little stint of responsibility and accomplishment, I think it’s time for a good old-fashioned passionate round of immoral self-indulgence. See you this weekend in Sitka!