There’s nothing like spending nine hours cleaning up in Photoshop to turn your brain into mush. People speak to me, and I am incapable of responding with coherent sentences. When I close my eyes, I see myself clicking away dust and scratches with the clone tool. Tomorrow is my big deadline -- I have to get the photos to the graphic designer -- and I’m short 30 of the 240 I expected to hand over. I feel the weight of the deadline sitting on my shoulders, pushing me closer to the ground with every click of the mouse. I’m not good with deadlines -- in fact, I wonder just how I managed to talk myself into this line of work in the first place.

Meanwhile, all the keyboard and mouse action has left my right hand crackling with little pinprick shocks and my left hand almost numb (which I guess is better). There’s a woman in our office who was out of commission for over a year because of repetitive stress injuries at work, and I suspect I may soon suffer a similar fate. I don’t know what I’ll do without the ability to use my hands -- I wouldn’t be able to write, design or produce anything. This might not be a bad thing.

This has been one of those weeks when things keep piling up. The graphic designer is being difficult (and unproductive), the book I’m reading sucks, my boss is pissed off at me, my cable television is messed up (no technician until Saturday), and the antenna I bought at Radio Shack with my last $15 doesn’t pick up any UHF stations. Meanwhile, Pantaliamon is MIA because she’s trying not to miss a deadline, and the dog deals with all of this by ripping up anything he finds on the floor.

Yet as I look out my office window, I see cottony snow drifting down from the sky, and it relaxes me. In fact, I think if I stared at it long enough, it would put me to sleep. And last week, my gastroenterologist said I could wait until June to take my colonoscopy. Even with the stress, my inflammatory bowel disease is still remitting itself. So things aren’t going quite as badly as they feel -- all I have to do is wait for the weekend so I can collapse and sleep and push on ahead.

If I tried to describe all my troubles to my dead father, I’m sure he wouldn’t understand. “Don’t you just sit at a desk all day?” he’d ask.

And of course, he’d be right.