What carried me through the afternoon.
Originally, I had hoped to be heading to my family by this afternoon, but I revised that plan sometime last week when I realized that there just wasn't any way I could finish this semester's work before Monday dawned. (Leaving Gambier before December 23? Whatever. I could barely manage that feat when I was a student, for goodness' sake.) And then, as it turned out, today was a second day running of near-record-low temperatures--not my favorite kind of day to be driving the Aged Car through (or even near) frozen fields. (Last night and today were so cold that ice crystals formed on and around the inside surface of my bathroom window. I guess that's one way to figure out where you have a draft.) And so I was glad that I'd already decided to stay put until tomorrow.
Because the weather has been so cold, and because my windows are so leaky, I've kept the curtains drawn all day, trying to keep the heat my furnace is struggling so valiantly to produce. Around 2:30 p.m., I started to hear a ruckus outside my living room window. Peeking through the curtains, I was startled to find my bird feeder being ravaged. Squirrels raiding feeders is a big problem wherever there are feeders, so I've been surprised not to have squirrels making the relatively easy climb down from the gutter. But now, it occurs to me, I have a narrative for why the seed just seemed to disappear sometimes, particularly on days when I'd been away at school all through the afternoon...
For the next hour or so, I alternately spied on the squirrel and scared him/her off so that the whole game could start over. This squirrel was totally on to me but never once tsked me. Which is a good thing, since I'm the meal ticket as well as the voyeur.
Now, my grades are in (several days ahead of deadline, I'd like to note) and one of the recommendation letter sets I need to do is done. Which brings me to the brink of being out.