Sunday night cramming and torn fingernails

Here I am, back at my usual Sunday night cramming. My nails and cuticles painfully ripped and pulled down to the quick — that’s one sure sign of my anxiety level. On Friday night, I was so sure I’d be productive this weekend: finish marking the Writer’s Craft stories, the grade 11 blogs, develop the summative tasks for grades 11 and 9 English classes . . .


I slept in Saturday morning until my parents phoned around 11, and even then, I lingered and lolled around until it was time to get ready for my daughter’s ski lesson. Skied for an hour and had a great time (see Saturday’s blog), came home and . . . oh, gosh, I can’t even remember how I spent Saturday night. Maybe I should check my blog, or my Facebook posts. Was definitely tired, though. Oh, now I remember — I got a coffee around 6:30 to make sure I’d stay awake long enough to do my school work, but I ended up knitting and playing strategy games until bedtime, and then I started watching Shattered City: The Halifax Explosion and my son wanted to watch with me and we ended up talking about WWI and the movie until close to 1 am. So no marking got done Saturday night, or that afternoon, or that morning.

This morning I woke up with a killer headache. I slept on and off until 10, then got up and tried different things to get rid of the headache. If it was from having too much caffeine lately, I decided to do the stupid thing and have more coffee. That didn’t work, though. Didn’t make it worse, but pain didn’t go away. I tried going back to bed for a little while before taking the kids back to the ski hill (Bridget’s ski test day) in the afternoon. That didn’t work either. I took an Advil right before we left, and that seemed to help for a while. Head’s been hurting since supper, though. And of course, I was so tired by the second day of exercise that I needed a nap. So no marking done this afternoon or earlier tonight.

Maybe the havoc I wreak on my nails is some form of self-punishment, a modern and miniaturized hair shirt or self-flagellation, because for every key I hit, my fingers hurt. Not every nail has been picked at or ripped, but enough to sting when I wash my hands. There’s one bit of nail sticking out in the tip of my right middle finger, like a sliver, and if I can find tweezers to pull it out (just clipping it won’t do at this point), it will bleed. I’m not a nail biter, I’m a picker. I do it when I’m nervous, under stress, bored (strange sort of satisfaction in pulling away a neat width of nail, particularly from a toe), while watching movies or waiting. This is why I think knitting is good for me — it’s something to do with my fingers that doesn’t involve causing physical irritation. Unfortunately, knitting doesn’t help me get the marking done, and it’s not particularly well-received during meetings at work.

Anyway . . . The good news is that I think I’m ready to go with my students’ tests, which only need to be photocopied at this point. I have a variety of short stories for my grade 9s to read, already at school (I realized this about a half hour ago and had to convince myself not to go looking for any other new ones). Next is reviewing my students’ blogs so I can put their most recent marks on their progress reports tomorrow. I really, really wanted to get those flash fictions completed this weekend, though. It’s as frustrating to me as it is to my students. Why can’t I just buckle down and focus?

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