We're now a little over a week from our departure date. We've taken care of most of the major preparations, although we still need to buy an extra large suitcase. Overall, we're in good shape.
Why can't I sleep tonight?
It must be the dreams--of checklists--you know the things that are going to need to be done when we get back: yardwork, birthday parties for the kids, syllabi and class prep for me, the mountain of paperwork that will inevitably await Ken.
It comes down to this: it is just not easy to pack up your life and leave things behind, even for the short period of a month. I've got deadlines looming while I'm gone. The plan is to get everything in order before I leave next week. I'm submitting a digital tenure file, which will spare the life of many a tree. But it means I have to get the password protected website up and running, and that has been a major nightmare.
Yesterday I spent four frustrating hours testing my field equipment. My students know how often I stress checking equipment BEFORE you get to the field. There is nothing more demoralizing that getting to an interview and finding out that your batteries are dead, your recorder doesn't work, or the greatest nightmare: you've finished an interview and get home to find a blank tape. Well, it's no less frustrating if it doesn't work before you leave.
I decided to go digital this time round as cassette tapes have gotten too expensive. The stereo digital recorder I bought, an Olympus D-2, has great quality recording, but the accompanying download software (according to Olympus tech support) has not been adapted for the latest Mac operating system, which my laptop runs. I tried patches, different software programs and then finally realized that the audio files were, by default, Windows Media Player. I'm quite certain that when the day comes that I need to use the audio files to dub into video it will be a huge process to transfer (actually, it's just a feeling in my gut), but for now I can store, duplicate and listen to my audio files easily. And it only took four hours to figure that out.
Today I'm off to campus to work with a tech support person to get that website ready. Then I have to be certain I have my files for the site. Then I have to go buy that suitcase.
According to this morning's Washington Post (finally, on the front page), Mexico's election has been tentatively decided, but the election results are so close it looks like the final decision will be made by the Mexican electoral tribunal. I have a sad sense of deja vu about this (which has nothing at all to do with Mexican politics), but for the moment all is calm in Mexico City. I'm thankful for small blessings.