Friday, October 29, 2010

Jobs, Archer, and Academia

Archer is back from his trip.  He gave a talk at a major U.S. university.  He was invited to give said talk by a major bigwig in his field.  I mean a MAJOR bigwig.  Dr. Bigwig likes Archer, he likes his work, and he even went so far as to tell Archer that he is right with his reading of underwater basket weaving whereas Dr. Bigwig, who has published about 10 books on underwater basket weaving, is wrong.  I'm really proud of Archer.  This is significant validation for his work.  It also means he has the potential to be someone in his field.  I want this for him because he deserves it and he has a lot to say.

But as he told me all of this I couldn't help but think: "What does this mean for me?  What does this mean for us?"

More to come . . .

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

My Mom continued

This month has been punctuated by family visits for us.  First Yetta and Pita were here, and then my sister and my nephew came for a long weekend.  This week, as I wrote earlier, my mom is here. 

Having family visit during the semester is always stressful, but certain family members are more stressful than others.  Yetta is her own entity and she creates more havoc than I could convey in single post.  Pita, while she keeps the boys (especially Wild Man) occupied, tends to leave a path of destruction in her wake (call me crazy, but I expect a 44-year-old to hang up her towel rather than leave a soaking wet towel on my bed).  My sister is wonderful in terms of being helpful (she cooks and cleans), but her presence comes with a continuous commentary about how my house is dirty (um, yes, I have a full-time teaching job as does Archer, I'm on the job market, and I have two kids; my main priority is not making sure all the toy cars under the couch are put away every night), how my house is poorly decorated (suffice to say, I think my house is mostly lovely, but my sister doesn't like my penchant for real art or framed family photographs), and how I don't wear enough make up and need to color my hair to hide the gray (for reals, she says stuff like this).  So the first two family visits of the month were stressful.

A visit from my mom brings its own stresses.  But here is the primary reason why I'm glad my mom volunteered to help me out this week: she does stuff around the house without me asking her to and, most importantly, without judging me.  In fact, this morning as I was getting ready to head to campus with the boys, she said, "Tell me how to work your vacuum.  I'll vacuum the house for you.  Oh, and where's you're sewing kit?  I noticed when I was helping you put away laundry that one of your shirts needs to be fixed."  Not only do I appreciate that she freely offered to do these things, I love that she didn't judge me in her offer.

Oh, and it's also nice that she hangs up her towel and makes her own bed.

Monday, October 25, 2010

My Mom

My mom is in town to help me with Bear and Wild Man as Archer is going out of town this week.  Ordinarily, I wouldn't have asked anyone to come help for 2 nights, but Archer is gone the night I teach from 6 to 9.  So I needed someone to give the boys dinner, bathe them, and get them to bed.  My mom volunteered, and as I haven't seen her since July, it seemed like a good idea. 

Every visit with my mom brings up lots of issues--some good, some bad.  The first few days are about me negotiating the issues I have on my own so I can try to enjoy my time with my mom.  I'm still in the process of doing that.  I'm finding it somewhat easier this time, though, mainly because I'm trying to see my mom through Wild Man's eyes.  My son knows nothing of my complicated relationship with my mom.  He knows nothing of her bi-polar, of her tendency to over-medicate when she doesn't want to deal with the world, and of my associated trust issues.  He only knows that Nana has come to visit, and he is completely enamored of her.  Yesterday, while Bear napped and Archer and I both graded papers, my mom played Play-Dough with Wild Man for 2 hours.  Then they played hide-n-seek outside.  At bedtime, Wild Man demanded that Nana read the book we read every single night--the book that he reserves for me and refuses to let Archer read, the book that no one else has ever read to him.  This morning he wanted Nana to take him to school, and when I reminded him that Nana will be picking him up at school tomorrow and she is a little nervous driving in our city and that he needs to help her out, he walked right over to her and hugged her.  Then he said, "You can do it, Nana!"  As he said that, I thought that I can do it too.  I can let go of a lot of this baggage and focus on enjoying the relationship I have with my mom.  It isn't perfect, and it does need work.  I am often angry with her for various things, but she does love me.  I need to focus on that more.

Some day, I'll thank my son for reminding me that sometimes I need to get over myself and focus on all the fun I can have with my mom. 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A meme

Like Kate, I first saw this meme at rented life's blog, but I didn't think about putting it on my blog until I read Kate's version.  I haven't been writing a lot, and what I have been writing is short and focused on the job market.  So, following Kate's lead, here are my responses to the meme in an attempt to liven my blog up a bit.
1. What is your favorite word? Wild Man and Bear's real names
What is your least favorite word? Like Kate, I really hate moist, but the panties comes a close second.
What turns you on? honesty, acceptance, humor, intelligence
What turns you off? drama, people who are self-centered, people who claim to be selfless
What is your favorite curse word? Wild Man is repeating things we say at the most inopportune moments, so I find myself spelling curse words a lot lately.  I really like how a-s-s sounds spelled out for some reason. 
What sound or noise do you love? Any sound of joy that my boys make, rain, opening a suitcase
What sound or noise do you hate? whining, my name being mispronounced
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? doula, elementary school teacher, professional organizer, actress, chef, journalist
What profession would you not like to try? medical doctor, nurse, vet, taxidermist
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? "This is a safe place.  You will never be judged here."

Your turn!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Happy 4th Birthday, Wild Man!

It is hard to believe that you are four years old today.  But it is equally hard to remember life without you.  Happy birthday, my sweet and wild boy!  You make every day an adventure.

I really hate . . .

paying to have my transcripts sent anywhere.  I hate it.  It's ridiculous, in my opinion.  They are, after all, my transcripts.  To pay $5 every time I need them sent somewhere really irritates me.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I will not succumb

To the job wiki that is.  I have lots of friends commenting on things they've read on various academic job wikis.  I'm staying far, far away from the one in my field.  I don't need the added anxiety.

In other news, I've got 3 more applications ready to go out tomorrow.  That brings my total to 12 or so.  By the end, I'll have sent out near 60.  I'm taking my time, even though that means I'm sending out some at the last minute, because I'm trying to tailor every letter not only to the add but to the stated mission of the department.  It is making it more time consuming, but I'm hoping it means I'll have a better year.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

My life

Here is my professional life right now: teach, grade, teach, send out job materials, revise letters, think about writing, send out more job materials, and teach some more.

Here is my personal life: chase Bear and Wild Man, try to find time for me and Archer, and try not to think about work when I'm home.  I'm not so successful at the latter.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

The Visit

Yetta and Pita left this yesterday morning.  I’m relieved that the visit is over.  It is also no surprise that the visit has left both Archer feeling really angry at Yetta in particular.  Here are the facts as I observed them, and I willingly admit that I am not remotely objective.

·       They left Cabbage Town on Wednesday, drove north, stopping in various locations, before their planned in CU Land arrival on mid-afternoon Friday.
·       They never called Archer at any point on their way to CU Land to let him know where they were or when we could expect them.  In fact, he had to call them Thursday evening so we could know when to expect them.  He only called because we both had to be on campus Friday and couldn’t leave until picking up the boys from JK and daycare.  If they arrived before 3:30 we had to coordinate how to let them into our house. 
·       When Archer spoke with them they said they would arrive around 2:30 on Friday.  They agreed to meet us at CU so they could give their friends a tour of the campus.
·       I had plans (which I made 2 months ago) to go shopping with a friend, and I was supposed to leave at 5:30, after, I assumed, Yetta and Pita’s arrival.
·       We got home at 4:30, having heard nothing from Yetta or Pita.  At that point they were 2 hours late. 
·       At 5, Archer, who had thought they would be at our house in time for dinner, ordered a pizza for he and the boys.
·       I left at 5:30 to meet my friend, and he took the boys to pick up the pizza.
·       At 6:30, he received a phone call from Yetta and Pita saying they were 15 minutes away.  The arrived at 7, 4.5 hours after they said they would be there.  They did not apologize for being late. In fact, they were upset that Archer and the boys had already eaten and that Archer refused to let the boys stay up past their bedtime (Bear is usually asleep by 7:45, and Wild Man goes to bed at 8:00.).  (On a side note, Archer is a stickler for schedule; he doesn’t like to deviate from the schedule for anyone, even me.)
·       In the middle of the night, after settling down a teething Bear, I heard Yetta vomiting in the downstairs bathroom, and I sent Archer to check on her. 
·       She was sick, and she said she was suffering from an attack of vertigo, which she was diagnosed with last year.  She has not had an attack in 6 months. (Apparently the dizziness of the vertigo makes her sick to her stomach.)
·       By Saturday morning, Yetta was clearly sick, and we all tried to help her out.  Pita got Yetta her anti-nausea meds, I kept the boys as quiet as possible, and Archer went out to get her gingerale and crackers to help settle her stomach.
·       By 9:30 it was really clear she wasn’t going to be able to do much for the day, so we adjusted the schedule to account for her absence.  She then had a 10 minute breakdown because she wasn’t able to take Wild Man and Bear shopping or attend Wild Man’s soccer practice.  She had said breakdown in front of my children, unnecessarily stressing out them both.
·       By noon she was miraculously recovered and able to go out to lunch with all of us because, as she told Archer, “There’s nothing here that I think my stomach can handle.” (Note: bagels, toast, bananas, applesauce, cheerios, turkey, and a lot of other plain foods were available in my refrigerator.)
·       After lunch she was feeling well enough to have Archer take her and her friends (who were staying at a nearby hotel) on a tour of the area.  She did, however, have a bucket in her lap the entire time in case she got sick.
·       For the rest of the afternoon, she sat on the couch and complained or slept while Pita and their friends played with Bear and Wild Man.  In fact, at Pita’s insistence Archer and I went out to dinner and Pita and their friends fed the boys and kept them entertained until we got home right at bedtime.  Yetta sat on the couch.
·     Sunday she woke up sick again, and we all urged her to go to the doctor.  She refused—until 3:00.  She then made Pita drive her to the nearest state and take her to the emergency room (Medicaid wouldn’t cover her visit to a hospital in Canada).  She got upset because her friends elected to stay in their hotel rather than go to the ER with her. 

So those are the facts.  Was she sick?  Yes, it was an attack of vertigo, for which I’m really, really sorry.  I wish she had felt better.  I wish she had been able to talk to and play with the boys more.  That said, I do feel like she amped up the drama whenever she could.  I’m sure she was sick.  I am not, however, sure how sick she was.  I feel like she made it out to be a lot worse than it was for the attention.  Unfortunately, she wasn’t very successful as Archer and I both took the, “well, I’m sorry your sick.  It seems like you just need to rest.  We have to go on with our day” approach.  She made it clear through some passive-aggressive comments (like “I guess I’ll just drive myself to the hospital.” and “Oh, you think I’ve ruined the whole weekend.”) that she was not happy with our behavior.  She also made it very clear that she was annoyed by all the attention Wild Man gave Pita and that she thinks I coddle Bear, who refused to go to her at all (he’s 15 months old; he is going through his “I only want Mommy!” phase.  He doesn’t even want Archer some days.).  It was an exhausting weekend because I felt like I was held captive in my house.  We couldn’t leave in case she needed us, and the few times one of us left, she made it really clear that “we deserted her.”  I’m glad it is over.  I’m even more glad I don’t have to see her again for a long time.