Wednesday, June 29, 2011

My Mom, a follow-up

My mom left on Saturday, and she did manage to make it to Home State safely.  As soon as my dad heard her cough, however, he packed her up and took her to the doctor.  As I wrote last week, she caught a cold while she was here (she catches a cold every time she comes to visit, now that I think of it), and she developed a severe cough quickly.  This isn't that unusual.  My mom had bronchitis a lot when she was a child, so she tends to develop a cough whenever she gets a cold.  This was a really bad cough though.  So bad that she woke herself and me up coughing several nights last week.  I wanted to take her to the doctor (luckily, Mom is smart enough to buy travel insurance every time she comes to visit), but she refused.  My dad made her go on Sunday though, and it turns out my mom has walking pneumonia.  That upset me.  Pneumonia is serious. 

Beyond that, it also upsets me because it tells me that she isn't taking care of herself.  She takes her medicine and goes to her appointments, but she doesn't exercise and she doesn't eat well.  I'm not sure what to say or do about her health.  I did try to speak to my dad about it, especially about my concerns with her memory.  He just shut down, however.  He has never responded well to anything that he perceives to be a criticism of my mother, so it isn't surprising that he wasn't willing to listen to my concerns.  I also know that he thinks I overreact.  I've been thinking about that a lot lately as well. 

Am I overreacting?  I don't know, maybe.  Is this about me more than my mom?  That is entirely possible. I've never been entirely comfortable with her diagnosis, primarily for three reasons.  First, she never got a second opinion.  I think that if a doctor diagnoses you with a mental illness that will require you to take multiple medications for the rest of your life you get a second opinion just to make sure.  Second, if my mom does indeed have bipolar that means her illness went undiagnosed for a long time, perhaps for years if not decades.  That has made me rethink a lot of my childhood.  For example, does the diagnosis explain her severe anxiety over meeting new people and her hesitancy to let us have friends over when we were kids?  Third, since the diagnosis, my mom has changed drastically.  This one is the hardest on me.  There are so many things we used to do that we no longer do.  When I visited, we used to spend an entire day shopping and having lunch in our favorite area of Home City.  We'd stay up late and talk.  Archer and I would help her with little projects, like planting new flowers and hanging up pictures she'd had framed.  We'd go for long walks around her neighborhood.  We'd even get up early and go to breakfast with Archer and my dad.  On the days that we stayed with Archer's family, I would often meet my mom somewhere for a few hours, which meant Archer and I both were able to spend one-on-one time with our families.  Our visits are so different now, in large part because my mom is different.  I could list all the differences, but I think it is enough to say that I have to drag her out of the house.  More often than not if I want to go do something when I'm there, she says, "Just go without me.  Take the boys and have fun.  I'll be here when you get back." 

That isn't the only thing I'm struggling with.  I keep asking myself, "Am I just being selfish?"  Maybe she is happier like this.  She is certainly more even-keeled than I ever remember her being.  She almost never gets annoyed with my dad for his stupid jokes or his unintentionally insensitive comments.  She seems much less anxious, and she no longer gets upset about how we split our time between her and Archer's family.  So part of me feels like I should accept her as she is instead of judging her, which is how she feels I treat her.  If she's happy, and she says she is, should I just let it go and accept her as she is?  Why is that so hard?

Monday, June 27, 2011

My new office

I'm writing this while sitting in my new office.  All of my books are unpacked, and I've made a list of the things I need to purchase to make the office fully functional.  You know, things like hanging files and tape.  I've sent an email to inquire about a computer (because this is a term appointment I don't get all the benefits that a TT faculty member would get, like start up funds to buy a new computer), and I've put in a request to have the office painted a pale peachy, ivory color (it is currently cornflower blue, which I actually like, but it is sort of dark.  If this is going to be my office for the foreseeable future I think I'd like a lighter color).  I'm in the process of deciding if I want to move the desk.  it is a good size office (about 8' by 12'), but the desk is a large corner style desk.  I'd like it to be facing the door, but I'm not sure it will work.  For now, I'm working.  It is so nice to be in my own space, so nice.  All of my things are out of Archer's office, and knowing that I do not have to stop writing mid-sentence if someone comes by to see him is, well, wonderful.  I can put my things on the wall, and I have plenty of bookshelves for my books.  I no longer have to schlep things back and forth from home to school, unless I absolutely want to.  I think this might make me happier than the house.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Here it is

*This is likely to disappear in a day or so.

Celtic House

After much deliberation, we chose Celtic House.  Archer preferred Square House, but I pointed out that it was the same price as Celtic House but lacked a garage (hello?  I'm not clearing off 12+ inches of snow off the car during the winter!) and a yard.  For me, the yard is a huge selling point.  So our agent and her husband (they work as a team, but everything is in her name) came over last night around 8:30, and we signed the contract.  Before she came over, she contacted the listing agent and asked what was the lowest offer the sellers would entertain.  It seems she has worked with the listing agent a lot and felt comfortable asking this question.  He gave her a number, she gave him a number, and he said something like, "I think I can get my people to work with that."  So we submitted an offer about $12,000 under asking price, based on a few things.  The house really does only have 2 bedrooms (again, there is a large finished room in the basement that could be a bedroom as well as a main floor addition that could also be used as a bedroom), and it has been on the market since May 5 (I think this is due to the bedroom situation; most people can't see the potential of this house).  Our agent said she'd drop off the paper work by 10:00 this morning, and that we should know something by 5:00 this afternoon.

At 10:30 as we were loading up the boys for Wild Man's 11:00 soccer game, Archer's cell phone rang.  It was our agent.  She was with the sellers and their agent, and the sellers were planning to counter at $4,000 over what we asked.  They told our agent that if we'd split the difference and meet in the middle we'd be done.  Archer said, "M and I have already talked it over.  We're 100% comfortable with that.  Let's close the deal."  So we got the house, which is a really lovely, little house (although it is actually much larger than it appears to be), for $10,000 under asking price, which is about 5% off the price.  More to the point, we like the neighborhood it is in much better than The House, and while it is a bit smaller, the yard is much, much nicer.  Barring any thing showing up on inspection, we have a house.  And while it is older, the only things that need to be done to it are cosmetic.  I mean, there is a crazy Greek-themed wallpaper border in the downstairs bedroom that has got to go, and the kitchen is the same copper color that we just painted over in our house.  But aside from that, it is a great house.  I'm very, very happy with our decision, especially considering how easily the deal went together.

As a bonus, we just got a call from our agent.  The sellers do want to keep a few things, primarily some plaid drapes they love (please, take them, I said!) and a light in the dining room that the husband made himself (I also said, feel free!).  In exchange, they are leaving us their massive freezer, their lawn mower and other lawn tools, and possibly some outdoor furniture.  It seems they are thrilled that a family with young children bought their home, and as they are moving to an apartment, they will leave us anything they don't want--and they'll clear it through our agent first!  What lovely, lovely people!  I think we're going to be really happy in this home.

One of three

*I started this post yesterday, but due to Bear's refusal to go to sleep in a timely manner, I didn't get to finish it until this morning.

Between yesterday and today, we've seen about 10 more houses.  Our options are limited given our price range and CU Land's market--which is, it seems, always a seller's market.  So after much debate and realizing we don't want to go over the amount we feel comfortable with (in reality, we could get approved for much more and we could also cover the cost of the down payment and closing costs, but we don't want to be slaves to our mortgage) we narrowed it down to three houses.

1.  Square house: the house is a take on a Georgian, by which I mean it is a big square with 4 windows in the front.  The advantages: it is, as Archer keeps telling me, a good, solid house.  It has 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, as well as a newer roof, updated plumbing and electrical, and a newer furnace.  The kitchen has the original oak cabinets, which are in great shape.  I'd update the hardware, but that is fairly minor.  The basement also looks like it could be finished, making a smallish rec room.  The disadvantages: the sellers put in a massive deck, which takes over the already small yard. Seriously, these people must have spent about $20,000 on this deck.   It also has no garage, and it is on a really busy street.

2.  Celtic house: the older couple who live here are clearly Scottish or Irish, as it is adorned with all sorts of Celtic symbols.  The basement has a series of photos from the local Celtic Choir as well.  This house is red brick with a picture window in the front.  The advantages: it is also, using Archer's phrasing, a good solid house.  It is about 70 years old, but it is in excellent shape.  The couple who live there have taken excellent care of it.  It has a new roof with 35-year shingles, a nicely finished basement, 2 full baths, and an eat-in kitchen.  It also had a massive back yard with a lovely rose garden and a vegetable garden as well as a garage.  The disadvantages: it is on the small side.  Technically it only has 2 bedrooms, but there is a main floor addition that has a small deck, which could be used as the master bedroom.  The bedrooms are also large enough that the boys could share one until they are older, at which point one of them could relocate to the basement room.

3.  Cookie Cutter house: this is one of many brand new homes being built on the north side of town.  It is in, as Archer calls it, Suburbia Hell.  It is like any new development in the States.  All the houses look alike and are incredibly close together.  The advantages: it would be brand new, and we'd get to pick out all the fixtures, cabinets, etc.  The development we're looking at would put us about 8 minutes from campus, in a very family-oriented neighborhood.  Plus, our wonderful neighbors are looking at the same subdivision, although they aren't likely to move until next summer.  The disadvantages: it is a new subdivision.  We'd have to pay to put in the privacy fence and any sort of deck, as well as the flowers.  There are no trees, and since we're looking in the newest section, we'd be living in a construction zone for about 2 more years.

So those are the choices.  Realistically we could wait.  We don't close on our house until August 30th, so we do have time to wait.  But we're supposed to leave on Friday for the mammoth of all car trips to visit various people on the way to an 8-day stay in Home State.  Given my mom's current state of being, we need to be in Home State by the 6th of July.  She left this morning, and I'm anxiously awaiting the phone call telling me she survived the shuttle trip to the airport in Big City in adjacent state.  I need to be in Home State to go to that appointment with her.  I also just need this to be done.  We've seen upward of 20 houses, and after the fiasco on The House, I'm really just done.  I can't think about anything else, and I really need to focus on work.  So it will be one of these houses, unless our agent comes up with something by tomorrow morning, we're putting an offer in on one of these.

Friday, June 24, 2011

My mom

My mom has been visiting all week.  She arrived last Friday, and the ostensible purpose of the visit was so she could be here for Bear's birthday.  When she arrived, she seemed to be in good shape.  She was coherent, she was engaged, and she was present.  She did mention that she has an appointment with a neurologist early next month as she has been experiencing some facial ticks that neither her psychiatrist nor her G.P. can figure out.  I took that with a grain of salt as she has been under a lot of stress with her mother's death and some of my sister's and father's health issues.  I immediately thought that perhaps the ticks are due to stress.  We had a fairly good weekend, so I said to Archer, "You know, Mom seems to be in good shape.  I think she's doing well."  By Monday, it became clear, however, that she isn't doing as well as I thought.

She spent the morning house hunting with us, and by the afternoon, she was exhausted.  She kept asking the same questions over and over again.  When we took the boys by the house we really liked, she literally did not remember having been there less than 3 hours earlier.  On Tuesday, she went with us to complete the paperwork to put in an offer on this house, but she sat in the car and slept.  Wednesday she came to campus with me to help me unpack my office, which I finally have a key to.  She fell asleep while I unpacked and organized, and eventually she asked me to take her back to my house.  Keep in mind that Wednesday was Bear's birthday.  We had planned to order pizza and have cupcakes, as we'd already had a small party for him over the weekend.  When we arrived home after getting the boys, we found her still asleep.  She'd taken a 3 hour nap, and she complained throughout the evening of not feeling well.  She woke up yesterday with a cold, and she stayed home while Archer and I went to work and looked at more houses.  This morning she went with us to look at houses again, but she stayed in the car for much of the morning.  She is now back at our house resting.  Tomorrow she goes home, and I'm really concerned about her ability to make it on the shuttle and through the airport, as she really doesn't seem to be with it.

Let me add a few things.  My mother, as I've written before, is not a social person.  She endured our good friend's daughter's birthday party last Saturday, as well as Bear's on Sunday (there were 6 children there, including Bear and Wild Man, along with 5 other adults).  She went house hunting even though that is not her thing.  She played with the boys a lot last weekend, but since Tuesday she has basically sat on the couch.  She keeps calling Wild Man Bear and vice versa.  She's called me by my sister's name about 10 times.  If she had just seen my sister, I wouldn't find that so troubling, but she hasn't seen my sister since February.  When I correct her, she honestly doesn't seem to realize her mistake.  I last saw my mom in November at her mother's funeral, and she looks like she has aged 5 years.

I'm really worried about her.  I know that her medication for her bipolar does cause some memory loss, but this memory loss seems extreme.  She doesn't seem to be capable of doing anything for herself, and more to the point, she doesn't really seem interested in anything.  I tried to talk to her about all of this, and I don't even know if she understood the questions I was asking her.  Aside from all of that, I miss my mother.  This person is so different from the mom I grew up with that in many, many ways I feel like I've lost my mother. I no longer know who this woman is, and while I cannot begin to imagine how she must feel, that is almost unbearable to me.

I have so much more to write, but for now, I'll just say has been a really rough week.

House hunting. . .

continues, after a major disappointment earlier this week.  We saw a house we loved.  It was 5 minutes from CU.  If we wanted, we could walk to boys to daycare and then walk to work.  It was in the right school district.  It had a lovely yard.  It has 3 bedrooms, 2 full bathrooms, and a basement that had been finished--and finished well.  As a bonus, it was within our price range.  It did (or does) need a new roof before winter.  Taking that into account as well as the fact that we were the first people to see it, we put in an offer that was $4,500 under the asking price.  They countered with an offer that was $5,500 over the asking price.  Yes, you read that correctly, and yes, that is apparently legal.  Needless to say, we walked away.  In the meantime, we also filed a complaint with the local real estate board as the seller's agent said some incredibly unethical things to our agent, and we also wrote an email notifying the agent's broker that the seller's agent told our agent that her clients priced the house as they did to generate interest in the hopes of instigating a bidding war.  Again, totally legal, but also completely unethical.  If they had priced the house at what they thought it was worth, we'd never have looked at it as it would have been about $12,000 out of our price range.  As it is, we were maxing out our budget, but we were willing to do so because the house would work so well for us.  Yesterday, our agent received an email from the seller's agent essentially asking what they could do to convince us to meet their price.  I wrote back and said, "While we love the house, we are aware of it's flaws.  We were more than willing, however, to negotiate within the parameters of the original asking price.  As it stands, we believe it is in the best interests of all parties involved if we move on."  This morning the house was relisted at $10,000 higher than the original list price. 

Meanwhile we continue to look, and we're having a hard time finding something we like.  House hunting sucks.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Happy Birthday, Bear!

Two years ago today, Bear was born.  It seems unreal that he is is two years old.  Happy Birthday to our sweet boy!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I really hate . . .

that I am expected to hide my disappointment to make other people feel better about breaking promises. 

I feel a bit like Anastasia seems to have felt in her recent posts on being expected to assuage people of their guilt for backing out of commitments (the commitment in question was Anastasia's daughter's birthday party).  Why is it my responsibility to make you feel better?  Why must you say things like, "I'm so worried you'll be mad at me"?  If you're worried I'll be upset, chances are I'm going to be upset.  That said, it isn't like I have the temper of a pit viper.  I'm not going to lash out at you, nor am I even likely to voice my disappointment much beyond, "That sucks.  I really wanted to do X with you."

To what am I obliquely referring?  Bear's second birthday is next week, and we're having a small party for him this weekend.  As my mom is going to be here, I invited my sister, who lives about 5 hours away by car, to come as well.  I didn't expect her to come as she has yet to visit while our mom is also visiting (don't ask; I can't explain it).  She, however, accepted the invitation and assured me she'd be here despite her schedule.  She did explain that she and her two kids would likely arrive late Friday evening and leave mid-day Sunday.  Of course, that was not an issue, so I planned on her being here.  As Archer would say, that is where I made the mistake.  I should not have counted on her as she routinely goes back on her word for various reasons (and there is probably a blog post--or lots of therapy sessions--on how the only family members I can routinely rely on are my mom and my cousin).  I was so excited that we were actually going to have family in town for Bear's birthday that I believed her.  More to the point, I told Wild Man she was coming along with Brown-Eyed Boy and Girl, whom he worships.  Wild Man bought them presents at his school book fair--with his own money without any prompting from me.  He has talked about their coming for weeks, constantly reminding me that he has presents to give them.  He is excited to say the least.

As of this morning, I hadn't heard from my sister in about 2 weeks, despite emailing her twice to ask when to expect them.  She finally emailed this morning, saying that she's had a rough few weeks managing her bipolar, and that as much as she wants to come she doesn't think she's up to it.  She ended the email with, "I'm so worried you'll be mad at me."  Well, no, I'm not mad, and why would I be?  Obviously, she has to take care of herself first.  I do not, however,  like the assumption that I would be mad over something like this.  Disappointed, sure, but mad?  Um, no.  In fact, what makes me mad is the clear need for me to assuage her guilt for changing plans.  You're not well, and you need to stay home.  I get it.  You feel bad about it.  I get that too.  I also feel bad about it, but it isn't the end of the world.  Let's move on and be done with it.  I don't understand why I have to make her feel better about it.  I mean (and I totally know I'm being selfish here) she isn't going to have to deal with the utter meltdown Wild Man is going to have when I tell him his cousins won't be here for the weekend.  And I do mean utter meltdown as in sobbing and pulling the covers over his head, saying "I'm so sad, Mommy.  I wanted to give them their presents" meltdown.  I will, however, manage it, and we'll all be fine.

As an aside, I will not be telling Wild Man about any possible visits until I know they are on the way to our house.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

House Hunting

I saw 5 houses today in the hopes of putting a few on a short list to look at once Archer returns.  Oh, I didn't mention that he left to go do research for the week?  Yes, that's right.  We sold our house on Saturday, and on Monday, he left the country to go photograph some sites and do a bit of archival work.  I dealt with mortgage stuff all day yesterday, and today I looked at houses.  Shall I say yuck, yuck, and yuck?  One was actually lovely.  It needed some work, but nothing horrific.  Nothing that we haven't done to our current home.  I was thinking it was a real contender, and then I went into the basement.  The house was built in the 1890s, and it still has the original cast iron sewer pipe, which doesn't look to be in great shape.  Yes, my agent took one look at that and said, "M, we're done with this one."  The sellers aren't likely to fix it before finalizing a sale, as it will cost somewhere in the ballpark of $15 to $18,000 to remove and update.  If it leaks at any point--and it looked like it was about to burst while I stood there--it would cause major damage to the entire left wall of the house.  So that one is off the list.  The others I saw were just ok.  Nothing to write about.  The one with the plumbing issues, though, makes me sad.  Not only did it have lots of lovely original details (including stained glass), but it was an older home that had been updated really well.  Plus you could stand on the front porch and see one of the three schools we're interested in.  Seriously.  I could stand on the front porch, drinking coffee, and watch my children walk to school.  I will stop now before I start figuring out how to fix the plumbing problems.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A little sad

That is how I feel about yesterday's events.  I do think we did the right thing, and that was reinforced today when Archer found a cheque for $350 from the Canadian Revenue Service that he thought he'd lost (I may not be that religious, but I do believe in karma).  I'm sad because this was our first house.  Yes, we'd lived in other houses--five since we've been married, as a matter of fact.  This house, however, was the first home we bought.  It was ours.  We made a lot of improvements.  We actually painted the walls colors we chose.  This home gave me a lot of comfort when we first moved to CU Land and I was so very lonely.  In fact, I made my closest friend in CU Land because we bought our house, and now we'll be moving away from our dear, dear neighbors who have become such good friends.  I could was sentimental for a while, and if you've been reading for a while, you know that I am more than capable of that.  I will miss many things about this house, and I hope that there is a house out there in CU Land that will become our home.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

We took . . .

the offer.  We spent the last three hours crunching numbers, and we can make everything work with this offer.  While we both think there is a chance we may get a better offer, Archer and I are in agreement that a firm offer is not something we want to risk.  When we spoke with our agent and laid out our case, she offered to reduce her commission, so that is something.  Now the house hunting really begins.

Oh, and in the middle of everything my parents called, and I explained what was going on.  My dad asked me if we needed any money, and I said, "well, if you're offering, we could use some, yes.  We can pay you back by December as we'll be able to build our savings back up once I'm getting paid again."  So when my mom gets here next week for Bear's birthday, she's bringing us a check for a substantial amount of money.  That definitely helps in terms of a down payment. 

They countered . . .

with a reasonable offer, just $1,000 under our counter offer.  But now we're not sure what to do.  The house has only been on the market for 4 days.  Do we take the offer, or do we say no, hoping we'll get a better one?  This is a firm offer--absolutely no contingencies.  We'll be able to put an offer in on another house knowing that this house is sold.  And they don't need to close until the end of August.  But we were hoping to get closer to our asking price, so we'd have a better down payment on any place we want to buy.

And we don't have to sell.  If we don't get a better offer, we wouldn't sell.  In fact, several things have happened related to Wild Man and school which mean we do not have to move this summer, as we'd thought (I'll explain this in another post).  We could just stay here.  But we've already packed up so many things.  If we do that, I'd feel like we'd wasted the last 7 weeks, which isn't completely accurate. 

I have no idea what to do.

And we have an offer . . .

and it is a total low ball offer.  We can't accept it.  We can't accept anything near it.  See we don't have a huge amount of money saved up for a down payment.  So we're depending on what we make on our place for the down payment.  The smartest thing to do?  Maybe not, but it's what we're doing.  But the other thing is, given the amount of work we've done to the place, we're only stand to make about $4,000 if we get the asking price.  We will have a fairly good down payment though because we've been here for 3 years and have built up some equity.  We countered, and we cannot take lower than the counter offer.  We'll see what we see.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Confusion in CU

Let me begin with a few facts about me.

First, I am a rule follower.  I do everything by the books, even if it is a rule I disagree with.  For example, I pack Wild Man's snack for JK following the list of approved food items sent home by the school.  I do not send candy, I do not send chips, I do not send cookies.  He does get a juice box (with 100% organic juice), but only because I know he drinks it all (the school actually prefers parents don't send juice boxes as many of the kids don't finish them and the juice gets wasted).  That may be an important fact to know about me.

Second, and building upon the previous fact, I do what I'm supposed to do.  For example, if there is a department meeting, I go unless I have a damn good reason not to.  In fact, I am one of the few part-time faculty members in my department who attends all the faculty meetings.  Now that I am on the verge of becoming a fully-fledged full-time faculty member, I have made it a point to go to all the meetings this Spring.  Let me add two things.  There have a been a lot of long meetings (as in 2+ hours).  My part-time contract ended on April 30th, and my full-time contract doesn't begin until July 1st.  Technically speaking, I'm not employed, and therefore, I do not have to attend these meetings.  But I do because I want to know what's going on and I want to make a good impression.

These meetings have been about various things, but the ones that have been of most interest to me are the meetings focused on the department's hiring needs.  The department has been granted an open line for next year.  This means that the department is guaranteed this line; we do not have to make a case for what field we want to hire in.  We can hire in whatever field we want, and the powers that be cannot say, "Well, um, you have 17 faculty members who teach underwater basket weaving.  You don't really need another."  As a result of this line, there has been much debate as to how it should be used.  There were many people who thought we should use it to hire in the area that we were least likely to get approved for in the future, and there were others who argued we should just fulfill the biggest need, regardless of what might happen in the future.  To make a long story short, at the last 2+ hour meeting it was determined that the department would be hiring in one of three areas.  Everyone decided we needed to have another meeting in which various people would argue for the three areas, and then we would vote.  This meeting happened on Tuesday, and due to a mix-up at Wild Man's school*, I couldn't be at the meeting.  And I really wanted to be at this meeting.  Not only did I feel a responsibility to be at this meeting, and in fact, I felt a bit delinquent not attending the meeting.  I likely wouldn't have said much, but still, I really, really wanted to be at this meeting.

Why did I want to be at this meeting so badly, you ask?  Well, one of the three areas targeted was my area.  As in the job description could have been written with my CV in mind.  Why is that a problem, you ask?  Well, it is and it isn't.

Here is why it isn't.  I'm joint appointed in this department and another.  I was joint-appointed for two reasons.  First, it was the only way I was going to get the full-time job this year, and second, I can teach in an area in my second department that no one else can--an area that has a lot of interest at CU (I taught a special topics class in this area in the fall, and the class filled up in 4 hours).  Thus, having another person on faculty who does what I do would be a great advantage, especially as I will only be teaching 2 courses a year in this department.

Here is why it is.  My contract is a one-year contract.  I've been told that it will convert to tenure track, but I have not been promised this.  Legally, I can't be promised this because if something changes with the budget and they can't offer me the t-t position, I could sue.  Thus, there is a small chance that my position won't convert, and I will have to go back to applying for part-time work at CU.  This is unlikely, but this fact is in the back of my mind all the time.** If the department decides to hire in my area, there has been some question as to whether or not I should apply for the position.  If I were to apply, I'd be taken through the search like any other candidate, and I'm not sure I'd even make it past the letter/CV stage.  CU is, after all, an R1, and while I have an excellent teaching record and conference record, I only have un-peer reviewed publications.  I am currently working on this, and I will have several things under review by the end of July.  With any luck, I'll have at least one, if not more, publications going into the fall.  But the reality is, I'll be up against individuals with Ivy League educations who have less teaching experience but many more publications.  Everyone on faculty may love me, but it seems unlikely that I'd measure up against such an applicant pool.  Thus, I was hoping that the faculty would go with one of the other two fields at Tuesday's meeting.

Guess which field they went with?  Yep, you got it.  The department will be running a search for someone who does almost exactly what I do.  What does this mean for me?  I'm not sure, and I asked Dr. English that question point blank.  He doesn't know either.  He has discussed this with the dean as well as the incoming chair (yes, Dr. English, who has been so wonderful and so helpful to me, is stepping down as department chair).  They are not sure either.  He advised that I wait until the new chair takes over and meet with him.  I'm not inclined to wait.  I'm just not.  I mean, we're selling our townhouse and looking at houses in CU Land.  We want to put down permanent roots.  We want to stay here.  So what do I do?  I'm going to make an appointment with Dr. Writing to get her input, and then I will do as Dr. English suggested and meet with the new chair.  In the meantime, I'm revising one essay and starting a new one.

But I have to say, even though I know I was never given any guarantees and I know that me being between two departments limits what I can do for both departments, I'm upset.  I'm upset because I feel like my expertise has been overlooked.  I'm upset because I wanted some sense of security.  I don't like feeling as though I'm starting this contract in a defensive position (even though I know that I always was, at least to some degree).  I really just wanted to be able to focus on my research and writing for a while without having to worry so much about whether or not I'd have a job next year.

*Wild Man's class had a field trip scheduled for Tuesday, and on Monday afternoon, one of the parents who had volunteered to go had to back out.  As I'm the only other parent in the class who has had a background check with the police (which is mandatory in Canada for anyone doing any kind of work with children), the teacher asked me to go.  As much as I wanted to go to this meeting, I said yes so that the field trip wouldn't get canceled.

**Historically, CU has rarely made plans to convert a position like mine to a t-t line without following through.  

Monday, June 06, 2011

Summer time fun!

After a long, snowy winter and a rainy spring, summer is finally here.  We're taking advantage of the good weather, by getting outside as much as possible.  This weekend we took Wild Man and Bear to a local neighborhood fair, where they tired to play mini-golf.  Mostly they just chased each other with the golf clubs.  Wild Man was happy to go through the 9-hole course once, but Bear tried his hand at every hole at least three times!

Wild Man's musical taste

Oh, and it turns out that Wild Man knows most of the words to Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream."  I'm not sure if I should laugh or be appalled.  He did, after all, hear it from my iPod.

Random Updates

Life has been a bit hectic since the last time I posted.  Here's the rundown.
  • The Conference: it went really well.  In fact, it may have been one of the best conference experiences I've ever had, if not the best.  My paper, which I did finish in plenty of time, went over fairly well.  I'm not sure it was put in the best panel it could have been, but I got really good input.  I made two really good contacts, which makes me happy.  Beyond that I met some really interesting people, I got names of two people who work on an author that I work on, and I also met several publishers who seemed interested in my manuscript idea.  I also got to spend lots of time with my good friend Harrogate, and that made the whole trip worthwhile.
  • The House: it officially goes on the market tomorrow.  And the damn thing has never looked so good, which really sort of pisses me off.  I mean, seriously.  Every room, save the laundry room, has now been painted.  We have new carpeting on the third floor.  The entire kitchen has been redone (which was done a while ago, but Archer finally finished off a few small things).  Every surface has been scrubbed/dusted/vacuumed/mopped.  It is insanely organized (which is something that we both agreed we need to keep up with).  Aside from the fact that all of my personal items are packed away, I love how it looks.
  • House Hunting: this is still officially on hold as we've decided to wait to see what we'll get for our place.  We're committed to staying very close to the list price, so here's hoping that happens.  There are a few houses listed in our price range in the areas we're most interested in, and I'm hoping they will either still be on the market or that there will be new listings by the time our place sells.
  • My research: I've got a few things going.  Apparently the conference paper that I wrote wasn't as crappy as I thought.  I need to do a lot more research, but it takes me away from the sort of thing I've been doing lately.  Also, if I turn this paper into something, it will represent the first substantial piece of work I've done since completing the doctorate.  I think that will give me a big ego boost.
  • The boys: Wild Man is handling all the moving/packing/house selling stress well.  He is determined that moving means we can have a dog!  We'll handle the moving school issue once we definitely know where he'll be going to school.  Bear, who turns two in two weeks, is doing less well.  He's cutting his two-year molars, as well as all four eye teeth.  He and Wild Man had been sleeping in the same bedroom for the last ten months, and we recently separated them.  Wild Man barely noticed, but Bear really seems to miss his brother.  He had a string of restless nights last week, but this weekend, he finally seems to have settled down a bit.
  • The extended family: my mom will be here for a visit in about ten days, and it looks as though my sister and her children will drive up for Bear's birthday.  That means we'll have a house full of people while our house is on the market.  Archer asked me if I thought that was such a great idea.  Indeed, I do not, but our families come to visit so rarely that I do not want to discourage them.  Yetta has planned some things for our visit to Home State.  This sort of thing drives me insane, as it makes me feel like my time is not my own, but I've decided to go with it.  Clearly, this visit (and similar ones) have little to do with me (and yes, I'm being a bit sarcastic here).  I think it will be less stressful on everyone if I give up a little control and just roll with the punches.  Of course, it may not be less stressful on me, but I'll give it a try.
That's where I am.  I've been thinking about a future post that is somewhat related to what I study, and we'll see if I manage to write that at some point in the future.