Saturday, May 31, 2008

We've returned

We got in late last night (well, 9:00, but that is late when you have a toddler with you!) from our trip to CU Land. I'll be writing a lot about it in the next week. After several frustrating days of looking at horrific townhomes and houses that need major renovations, we finally found a 3 bedroom, 1 1/2 bath townhome on Thursday morning (our last day in CU Land) that we loved. In fact, it was so much nicer than anything else we'd seen that we put in an offer. We heard from our real estate agent late yesterday afternoon, and our offer has been accepted. Barring any complications with the mortgage, we have a home! And to make the trip even better, I found out that I will be teaching a course in the Women's Studies Department. I am equally excited and relieved about our upcoming move.

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Moving Saga continues

We leave on Sunday to visit CU Land; we will be there until Friday. The list of things we have to do while we're there keeps getting longer and longer. In an attempt to stop thinking of all of this so I can actually get some work done today I've decided to compile of list of moving issues that are currently stressing me out. I'm hoping that getting all of this down will ease some of my stress so I can get a few pages written today.
  • On Sunday evening, as we pass through customs in CU Land we have to apply for C's restricted work permit (he is only legally allowed to work at CU), my unlimited work permit (mine will be attached to his, and I am allowed to work any place that will hire me), and Wild Man's visa (I'm not clear on what sort of visa this is, but apparently he has to have one to be a part of the Canadian health care system). We land around 6:30, which is dinner time for Wild Man. We have no idea how long this will take, and apparently the entire process is contingent upon our customs agent. If we get a nice customs agent, it will go smoothly; if we get a mean one, we could be there for hours.
  • C spoke with the movers yesterday, and he learned that we may not be able to take our car into Canada. Apparently, Canadian Customs can refuse to allow a car that was purchased in another country and has a loan through said country into their country. I totally get the purpose of this; Canada is trying to prevent its citizens from crossing into the U.S. to buy a car without paying Canadian taxes, which are substantially higher. But come on! We're already decided to get rid of one car. There is no way we can afford to buy a car once we get to Canada, so this also has me freaked out. C has to fill out a million customs forms on our car, but apparently we could be told that we can take our car into Canada only to be told no at the border. I'm learning that border agents and customs agents have a lot of power.
  • We've decided to buy a town house. We've done lots and lots of research on this and feel fairly confident this is a good idea and will be a good investment. We've rule out a house because to get into the school district we want we can't afford a house, but we can afford a nice town house. I'm getting stressed out about trying to find a house we like, put a bid, and do the paperwork in 4 days.
  • We also have to look at schools for Wild Man. This was a difficult process when we did it in Southwest College Town, and he wasn't even born then. We visited day cares and selected the one we liked the best when I was 8 months pregnant. I've spent so much time on-line researching schools in the past two weeks that I'm beginning to think I could write a dissertation on daycares in CU Land. This is a big source of stress because he is so happy where he is. I really hate that we have to move him.
  • C was finally given access to CU's library database, and I spent about an hour on-line yesterday trying to determine how extensive their literature section is. Let me say that C will be ILLing a lot of books for me. I'm also asking my parents to give me cash for my birthday so that I can start buying the books I use regularly. Apparently CU isn't so big on nineteenth-century American literature. Go figure.
Well that helped more than I would have thought. I am now going to try to figure out what I have to say about Phelps, nature, and transcendentalism.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Wild Man's Entourage

A few months ago, on a trip to Old Navy, Wild Man picked out a stuffed dog that he quickly became very attached to (brown moppy animal pictured in the foreground of the picture). Within days of purchasing said dog, which Wild Man rescued out of the clearance bin, he was carrying it around everywhere and sleeping with it. He became so attached to it that I had my mom, who lives in a different time zone, scour her local Old Navy for extras. Luckily she was able to find two, so Wild Man also keeps a "Puppy" at school and we have a back-up.

About 3 weeks ago, Wild Man decided he needed to sleep with extra friends, and slowly, he began adding animals, positioning them in key places around his crib. First he added Patches the Bear and Ox the Ugly Doll; then came Bob the Brachiosaurus, Chompers the purple T-Rex, Pop, Duckie, Pooh, and Paddington. He then added Penny the baby doll and Spot the kitten. He still holds Puppy while he sleeps, but he also needs all of these friends. If one is missing or not in the correct place, he won't go to sleep. Yesterday he was home with a stomach bug, and he insisted on carrying each animal, individually, to the living room so they would be near him while he colored and we read books. My son has an entourage.

Monday, May 19, 2008


So here is the reality of my life right now: moving sucks. I know that most of us feel this way, so let me add another element to it: moving to another country sucks.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Don't want to work

Despite the fact that I submitted part of my Phelps chapter to my advisor yesterday and that she has already read and commented on the first 10 pages, I really just don't want to work today. My advisor pointed out an organizational problem that not only helps this chapter but will also help the rest of my dissertation. One would think I'd be excited and ready to get to work. I'm not. I'd rather be doing any number of things. Instead I'm reading and taking notes on Catharine Beecher's A Treatise on Domestic Economy. My life is so exciting.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I wish I had been there!

Sex and the City: The Movie had its world premiere last night in London, and I so wish I had been there!

Monday, May 12, 2008

From 37 pages to 46 pages in the blink of an eye

At my friend Lilian's advice, I decided to figure out what Southwest College's rules on formatting the dissertation are sooner rather than later. I figured if I set my margins now that is one less thing I have to do later. Suddenly my Wharton chapter, which has been stalled at 37 pages for months (as you recall I left Wharton behind to work on Phelps), is now 46 pages, and my Phelps chapter, which was only 19 pages, is now 25. All of a sudden, I feel like I've made some serious progress today. Thanks for the tip, Lilian!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all of the mothers I know and love!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Oh, Canada!

As most of the regular readers already suspect (and many of you know), we are moving to Canada. C was offered and accepted a tenure-track position at a medium-sized research university in Canada. CU (Canadian University) is in a medium sized city, which is relatively close to the U.S. border. We will be returning to the Eastern time zone, although we will not be returning to the East Coast, which is ultimately where we'd like to end up. C received word yesterday that CU has mailed the contract to him; he should get it on Monday. With that knowledge, I feel a bit more comfortable revealing the approximate location of our new home. Frankly, I was a bit worried about jinxing everything!

We are alternately excited and stressed out about the move. Our lives are going to change dramatically. C will be making significantly more money than both of us are making now (but, given that I'm a grad student and he is a full-time adjunct, that isn't really hard to do), but we're still a bit worried about finances because the cost of living in CU Land is somewhat higher. I have good leads on adjunct work, and there is a serious possibility that the English Department at CU will offer me a part-time position for the Spring. The Dean of the College of Liberal Arts is a from Southwest College State, and she has a nephew who attends Southwest College. She seems very eager to help me given this connection between our families. She has, in fact, shopped my CV around at the affiliate schools (CU seems to operate a bit like Oxford or Cambridge; it has affiliate schools for specific areas, including a teaching college and a women's college. Each of the schools has an English department, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that one of these schools will show interest in my CV and want me to teach at least one class there in the fall.). But for the time being, unless something else comes up, we've decided that I will stay home and focus on my dissertation. Daycare is significantly more expensive in CU Land, so Wild Man will either be staying home with me or he will go part-time. C and I have talked endlessly about a schedule, and I'm fairly certain we can make such a plan work (after all if our friends Solon and Megsg-h at The Rhetorical Situation can make it work while both of them are dissertating, we definitely can!). The Dean has also assured C that the English Department will consider me for partner placement when I'm finished, so that is even more motivation for me to keep on task and get work done.

For now, we're trying to figure out our living situation (we're debating whether to buy in the first year or wait a year) and determining what it means to be Americans living in Canada (we've still got to figure out how to get absentee ballots as CU wants C to apply for permanent residency as soon as we get there). C asked me last night if this makes us expatriates, and I told him I have no idea (Lilian, any thoughts on this?). We are, apparently, emigrating, which is not something I'd ever thought we'd do. I do know that we're in for one interesting adventure.

Thursday, May 08, 2008


Summer has arrived in Southwest College Town. This past weekend we took Wild Man to the splash pad, and he had lots of fun. In fact, we had to forcibly take him away from the fountains as he was visibly shivering but didn't want to stop playing. Looking at these pictures made me smile so much that I wanted to share them.

Have I mentioned recently how much I love my child?

*Poof! These photos have disappeared.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Sinking in

The reality that we're moving in just over 2 months is beginning to sink in. With that realization, I'm experiencing a lot of mixed emotions. I'm genuinely happy about this move for more reasons that I can count. The biggest reason is that this is a smart move for C, for his career, and for our family. Regardless of whether or not I'm ever offered a position at University X, this is a great job for C's career. If I'm not offered a position and we do end up moving again in the next few years for my career, this job makes C incredibly marketable and will make him much more attractive to any school that would hire me. I'm also excited about this location, about getting to know a new place, and about living in a new environment. The list could go on and on.

Despite my excitement and my belief that we are making the right decision, I'm not excited about leaving the Southwest College Town we've come to think of as home. When we moved here almost 5 years ago, we never would have thought we'd be so happy here. It is a relatively conservative community, in a very conservative state. It doesn't feel like a college town at all; in fact, it feels more like Strip Mall Town. It has all of the negatives of small town life, without many of the positives of living in a city. But it has many things that we've grown to love. We have a community of friends, many of whom we've come to think of as family. I can name about 12 people that I will be heartbroken not to see on a regular basis. In some ways, I think of these friends as people I've grown up with. We've all weathered the many dramas of graduate school together, had children around the same time, and become an integral part of each others' lives. I also have a lot of affection for this place because it is where C and I decided to become parents and where Wild Man was born. It is impossible to drive around this town without thinking "That's where Wild Man did X for the first time." Leaving SCT will be one of the hardest things I've ever done. One of the things that bothers me most about the profession we've chosen is that it requires us to move to places that we may not want to move to, to put down roots in said place, and then to leave that place. C and I love what we do, but I truly hope we don't have to move too many more times in our careers.

Monday, May 05, 2008

I really hate it when . . .

I can't remember why I thought I needed to consult specific books. I've spent the entire morning skimming 5 different books (2 of which I recalled) that I checked out of the library, and I'll be damned if I can remember why I thought I needed to look at them. Each is interesting and has shed some light on the time period I study, but none have yet proven to be specifically helpful to me. I have no idea what I was thinking.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Are you Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte or Samantha?

Since I'm focused on all things Sex and the City lately, Supadiscomama from The Rhetorical Situation directed directed me to a quiz that helped me determine which SATC lady I am most like. I am 50% Miranda, 40% Carrie, and 10% Charlotte. I'm sort of disappointed that I am not at all like Samantha, but I think I knew that already. Given my tendency toward cynicism, I'm not really surprised by the results. Miranda has always been my favorite character. And given the results of the quiz I took yesterday, it makes perfect sense?

Oxymoron, I'm dying to know which SATC lady you most resemble!

Friday, May 02, 2008

One more question

Here is another question that I'd love to hear from all my family and friends about our upcoming move:

When can we visit?

Only 28 days . . .

until Sex and The City: The Movie opens, and I am so excited. In fact, this morning I went to the website and read everything I could about it. I even took a very, very fun quiz to determine which SATC man I would be most compatible with. No surprise (especially for those of you who personally know C): I am most compatible with Steve. If you're a SATC fan, take the quiz and let me know who your most compatible with.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Questions to ask

At Academama's suggestion, I've composed a list of questions to ask the spouse of someone who has just accepted a tenure track position.

  • How fantastic! Are they willing to consider partner placement? (Ok, so this question assumes that the questioner has some knowledge of academia.)
  • What are the schools like?
  • What sort of exciting things are there for us to do when we come to visit you in your new home?
  • Will you be able to afford to take some time off and focus solely on your dissertation?
  • When can we come visit?
  • Do you need any help moving?
  • That sounds like a really great opportunity for your family. Are you excited?
  • I bet you're really excited, but I imagine you're also feeling a little overwhelmed. It is going to be hard for you all to leave College Town, isn't it? (I'd only welcome this question from someone I know really well, as it would likely make me burst into tears, but more on that later.)
  • Wow! Won't you all have fun teaching Wild Man to build a snow man?
  • So, when are you going to let Wild Man start participating in extreme winter sports?
  • M, you have to wear a sweater in an air conditioned room! Should we go shopping for some warmer clothes?
  • Do you think Wild Man will adopt the local accent?
Ok, so admittedly, some of these questions are pretty lame, and I have to say probably not the humor that Academama was looking for while she recovers from her recurring neck problems (sorry, Academama!). But these questions are supportive and understanding and suggest that the questioner is actually excited for us and understanding that this has not been an easy process or decision for us.