Big Changes

Yesterday, I turned in my letter of resignation from the University of South Dakota, effective August 21.

I can hardly remember a time when I haven’t been affiliated with USD (now referred to as the You-Dot) in some way or another either as a student or a grader, research assistant, oral historian, adjunct or instructor.  Like, seventeen years–off and on, of course.  It really was time.

And I hugged my old (you know what I mean) boss–twice.  The boss who scared the hell out of me when she first became chair of the department I worked (ahem–work–until August 21) for and said that, you know, my job wasn’t guaranteed.  I had to do a good job.  And she held me to it.

It was the right thing to do, of course, and I admire her for it. That’s one of the many reasons she totally rocks.

And I dropped off a few jars of pickles for the woman who was the chair of the department when I first came to Vermillion and also for her partner, whose grandmother’s crocks I used to make those pickles for the last two years until I bought my own crock.

And I picked up some boxes and packed M’s books and one box of mine.  Right now, I’m really happy I’ve been so disciplined about donating books that don’t fit in my big shelf.

There will probably be about six boxes of my books after I give away my current edition anthologies.  I’m keeping my updated writer’s handbook, and I don’t want any guff about it.  Once an English teacher….

M and I ate nasty hotdogs for lunch because our new stove hadn’t yet arrived.  Nasty in the sense that all hotdogs are kind of nasty.  And nasty in the sense that I ordered a chili-cheese dog and the toppings came out of a machine calibrated to spread a one precise line of cheese and another of chili on either side of the dog.

No, I did not realize that’s what I was getting, or I would have just ordered the dog.  I ate it, at any rate, and my digestive tract is letting me know just how it feels about that choice this morning.

Then some friends popped by and were going out to see their horses, and they absconded with my child, so I threw on my hole-y jeans and went out to the farm and picked beans and cukes and cherry tomatoes and summer squash.

The spaghetti squash this year?  Oh. my. gosh.  I have to check and see when I can start harvesting them because otherwise I’m going to have a truckload all at once off of maybe four or five hills.

And I christened my now-arrived new stove by canning two pint jars of dilly beans, which was pretty much the extent of my bean harvest (they’re going downhill fast). At least the shell beans survived their early not-sure-they’re-going-to-make-it phase and are putting on blossoms.

The okra might actually bear, too, now that the sun has finally come out.

I didn’t even use DEET during harvest–I just wore my layers and my headnet and jammed out to the high whining sound of the little bloodsuckers, occasionally swatting my back and arms when they penetrated the layers.

I can’t really say I’m going to miss working for the You-Dot, but I will miss all the friends and colleagues and co-workers and professors I’ve met there over the years–though many of them have moved on (yeah, or retired–seventeen years, remember).

With my thirty-seventh birthday coming up next week, it feels good to be on the move.

But today I’ll take a break from worrying about how all this is going to come together and move to the music at the Newton Hills Folk Fest in Canton, drop off M with his dad, and hopefully see some old friends as well.

After that, it’s final grading for the summer session classes that ended yesterday (and final grading for my USD instructor career) and more packing, cleaning, harvesting, and canning. No sense moving empty jars, after all.

The coming week will need to be about finding a place to live in my new stomping grounds.  I’ve always thought I’d live in Minnesota someday…


5 responses

  1. A really lovely post, Rebecca. I’ve been excited for you all week, bragging about you to friends here who don’t know you; I’m as excited for you as if I were the one making the move. And your box (with birthday cake) should arrive today or next week. I recommend you warm the cake and enjoy with coffee for breakfast. I promise there’s no chili or cheese in it. Love you!

  2. Congrats again, Rebecca. Kind of jealous. I’ve also always wanted to live in Minnesota. But most likely, my next big move will be out west, Idaho or Utah. Which is alright, I suppose. I hope it’s everything you expect!

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