Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I get it already

*I have to say this and I don't really have anywhere else to say it, so I'm putting it here.  Please take this disclaimer to know that this post isn't directed at any of my close friends or regular readers.

We are officially out of the closet to everyone.  We even went so far as to post an ultrasound image on Facebook to share with our family and friends.  Why such a public statement?  Well, we realized that there were many, many people who didn't know about #3.  This seemed the easiest way to inform everyone in one shot without having to get into a lengthy discussion with lots of people.

The response has been overwhelmingly supportive.  A few people have expressed surprise, but in a very pleasant way.  And given my own initial reaction, I cannot fault anyone for being surprised.  So mostly everyone is happy we're expecting.  A few people, none of them close friends or family, have gone out of their way to express disappointment that #3 is a boy.  Okay, fine, whatever.  Say it and move on.  I can deal with, "Oh, I was hoping you'd have a girl."  I can handle, "Oh, three boys!  How unfair!"  I can even accept, "I'm so disappointed.  I wanted a girl."  I can accept all of those statements once.  I will chalk them up to the fact that the people making them don't know me that well, aren't aware of how much I value boundaries, and how much I see statements like this as offensive to me and my boys.  I can bite my tongue and keep my snappy retorts to myself once, twice, maybe even three times.  But when such statements are made by someone whom I view to be little more than an acquaintance over and over and over again--both to me privately and publicly--I start to lose my patience.  So to those people, I say--I get it.  You're sad.  I've validated your sadness over the fact that my baby is a boy.  Now shut up about it already.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Archer and the travel gods

Archer has really bad luck with travel.  Really bad luck.  This weekend, however, he must have done something right.  He was scheduled to get home around midnight, having to take a 2-hour shuttle from the closest big city airport to CU Land.  Somehow he managed to get on an earlier flight and to get on an earlier shuttle.  The result: he was home by 7:20, in plenty of time to see the boys, help with bath and bed, and get to hang out with me a bit.  So I'm writing this as a way to offer my thanks to the travel gods!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Rundown

Archer has been out of town for about 48 hours now, and he'll get back late this evening, well after the boys are asleep.  Lots of stuff has happened in his absence, so here is the rundown.
  • He left Thursday morning, just as the boys were finishing breakfast.  The morning routine can be stressful at our house, so I consciously changed the routine to make it less stressful on me.  All in all it went quite well, and we were out of the house by 8:30.  Of course, we ran into some construction traffic, which meant we didn't arrive at the Bear's daycare until 10 minutes before Wild Man had to be at Kindergarten.  Luckily a good friend with whom we often trade drop off duties was dropping off his son at the same time I was trying to drop off Bear, and he offered to take Wild Man to school as he had to take his daughter there too.  So Thursday morning worked out fairly well.
  • Over half of my Thursday class decided not to show up, which was annoying, but it also meant that the students who managed to show up were treated to an impromptu paper workshop session.
  • I spent the afternoon in a spontaneous meeting and then caught up on some reading and grading.
  • I picked Wild Man up, took him with me to the library, and then we got Bear and headed home.  
  • The evening routine went smoothly--primarily because I didn't have to cook.  I just heated up some leftover sauce and meatballs, and the boys were more than happy with spaghetti. The boys were both in bed by bedtime, although Bear fought going to sleep for quite a while.  After 30 minutes, I made it clear I'd had enough and 10 minutes later he was sound asleep.
  • I went to bed soon after, and Friday morning went fairly smooth as well.
  • Yesterday was a bit of a challenge for me.  I don't like waiting, and I spent the day waiting to hear the results of a meeting in which Research Department discussed non-competitive hires.  Although this was a full department meeting, Dr. English had asked that I not attend.  To be honest, that irritated me more than a bit.  First, I go to department meetings; that is just what I do.  Second, there were several agenda items being discussed that were pertinent to me for various reasons.  I didn't want to be present for the discussion that tangentially concerned me--not at all.  But I didn't like be excluded from the whole meeting.  I also didn't like the way Dr. English, who assured me that this would be a conversation about hiring not about me, had put the discussion on the agenda.  It was worded in such a way that it seems impossible that my name wasn't brought into it.  The meeting was at 11, but I didn't hear anything until 3:30, which meant I didn't get much done other than constantly hitting the refresh button on my email.
  • The news was good, I guess.  The department, collectively, is finally ready to move forward with this hire, so I have been formally invited to interview with the department.  A date still has yet to be determined.  I ran into Dr. English on my way out who said he'd be happy to meet with me to discuss the process again (I think he's feeling more than a bit guilty about how long and drawn out this has been), and we briefly discussed date.  It looks like it won't be scheduled until the end of April.  As tactfully as I could I said, sooner rather than later would be better for me as I don't really want to interrupt my talk for a bathroom break.  He laughed, but my expression made it clear I wasn't joking.
  • Then I picked up the boys, got some milk, and came home.  We played, we ate dinner, and the boys went to bed.  
  • Today may prove to be challenging as it is raining, but we have a playdate and dinner plans for later this afternoon.  I'm hoping to make it till bedtime with my sanity in tact.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Yes, yes, I can

Archer is out of town until Saturday.  Given some of his previous trips, this one is relatively quick.  He is only gone for two nights, although logistics mean that he is actually gone for three bedtimes.  The bulk of his trip occurs during the week, which means I am in the office and teaching, Bear is at daycare, and Wild Man is at kindergarten.  It does mean that I am responsible for the entire morning and evening routine on my own, and it also means I'm on point all day on Saturday.  Is it stressful?  Sure.  In fact, it is apparently so stressful that both my mother and Yetta called last night to make sure I could handle my children on my own.  My response, "Yes, yes, I can."  I really wanted to say, "If you were concerned, you could have offered to help, you know, sooner than the day before Archer leaves town."  I mean, seriously, if I had said, "Nope, I can't do it.  Someone is sure to suffer. I'll likely just leave Bear at the neighbor's house all week and make Wild Man fend for himself while I stay in bed," would either of them have shown up at my house?  Sorry for the sarcasm, but seriously.  Yes, yes, I can manage to take care of my children for 3 days all by myself.  I've done it before, and I have no doubt I'll do it again.  In fact, at some point, I am quite sure I'll be taking care of all three of them all by myself.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

More Good News!

I just received an email telling me that an essay I submitted was accepted for publication!  This is the essay that I've been working on for, oh, about 3 1/2 years.  It was part of my dissertation, and I edited and revised it.  I sent it out last year.  It was rejected.  I revised it some more, and I sent it to my writing group.  I revised it still more.  I sent it out again.  It was rejected.  I made minor, minor changes, which primarily consisted of editing a few passages and moving some paragraphs.  I then sent it out about 2 weeks after the second rejection.  In the meantime I've been working on other things and trying not to think about it.  This morning I got a lovely email saying, Yes, it has been accepted.  I shouted so loud Archer thought I'd hurt myself and I scared Bear!  I will likely shout again when I see it in print!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

I may pass out from shock. . .

Archer and I both have a modest amount of grant money to do research in one of our favorite cities, and we've been trying to coordinate with Yetta and Pita in the hope that we both could actually go to said city together.  I was at the point where I was ready to book my trip, as it was seemed increasingly unlikely that Yetta and Pita would come through.  For weeks we got the usual run around.  It goes something like this:
Y: Tell me what dates work best for you and Archer.
M: Here are three different weeks we could make work.
Y: Okay, I've written them down; I'll check with Pita and get back to you.

Y: (in another phone call a few days later) Tell me what dates work best for you and Archer.
M: Really anytime after Date X is fine.
Y: Okay, I've written that down; I'll check with Pita and get back to you.

You get the point, and this went on for about six weeks.  Then, Pita called to say she was almost positive she had the time off, and she told us to book our tickets.  But we didn't.  Neither of us was comfortable booking tickets if we didn't know for certain that they were able to come.  This made her angry.  Then, she got the time off.  I nearly fainted.  But they didn't book their tickets.  Yetta called us almost every night for 10 days to find out if we'd booked our tickets.  Every single time Archer said, "We're not booking your tickets until you book yours.  So let me know when you book your tickets."  Then, Pita hurt herself while at the park with some friends.  At that point, Archer and I were both sure we weren't going anywhere together.  But miracle of miracles: they booked their tickets.  They will be in CU Land for 10 days, which means that Archer and I have two days to show them our very complicated schedule before we can go to said city for a week.  I seriously think I might pass out from shock.  Seriously.

Monday, March 12, 2012

My new role model

So I've decided Cate Blanchett is my new role model.  Why? Well, she's lovely and very smart; she has a successful home life and a successful career; and she doesn't mind showing up in public looking a bit frazzled. Oh, and she is a mother to three boys.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

A pet peeve

I really want to post the following on Facebook, but it will cause less controversy here. 

To those who believe women should be friends simply because they are women:

First, I can only assume that if you believe this you are a man, which is perhaps a false assumption.  But as your also making a false assumption, I think my false assumption is merited.  Are you friends with all men simply because you are also a man? No, in fact, I would venture to guess that you've met a lot of men in your lifetime that you sincerely dislike.  Whether that dislike is based on a difference in religion, politics, or personality, it matters not; the reality of life is that we don't like everyone we meet.  There is no unifying sisterhood of women.  I am a woman, yes, and I like lots of women.  I do not, however, like or support every single women in the world.  Why?  Well, sometimes our beliefs simply do not agree, thereby making it hard for me to like such women. 

Oh, and just as a point of reference, if you have to start a statement in the following way, "I'm all for women's rights, but. . . " you've just proven that you are, in fact, NOT for women's rights.  I'd have much more respect for you if you stopped pretending and just owned up to the fact that you're sexist and do not believe in equality among the sexes.

Thanks for the chat,

Work Drama and the "Ivy Tower"

I don't usually engage in conversations about how tenure track faculty treat non-tenure track faculty or how T-T faculty often live in an ivory tower.  Why?  I'm not entirely sure, but mostly because these conversations, in my estimation, tend to become heated very quickly and are often filled with vitriol.  On any given week, I have enough drama in my personal life (thanks to my extended family and in-laws) that I don't really want to engage in drama in the blogosphere.  This week, however, I am the target of the ivory tower.  While I am not the target directly, I am being directly affected by several T-T faculty members belief in "the system" and their placement in the ivory tower of academia.

Dr. English stopped by my office earlier this week to tell me that my job talk will have to be pushed back again.  It seems that at least three members of the department have come to him and expressed concern over a non-competitive hire.  This department has never made a partner placement.  Yes, you read that correctly; while there are a number of couples in the department and several members have partners in other departments or faculties, this department has never hired a partner of a department member in a non-competitive hire.  There is, however, a slight caveat to that truth.  At least two members of the department (one of whom has a partner on a T-T line in the department and the other has a spouse on a T-T line in a different department) have threatened to leave if their partners weren't considered for T-T positions within the university.  Suddenly, there were T-T positions open specifically in these individuals' spouses' areas, and miraculously, each search committee interviewed and selected these individuals for the open positions.  At no point whatsoever did either committee discuss the fact that these individuals were partners with prominent members of the English department, I'm quite certain.  Incidentally, both of these individuals have been hired in the last 5 years. 

As a result of never having hired someone purely through a partner placement, the department does not have a specific policy on this.  Therefore, to address all the talk, as Dr. English put it, he wants to push back my job talk to discuss department policy on non-competitive hires.  This conversation will take place at the next department meeting, which he specifically asked me not to attend.  Following the conversation, we will set a date for my job talk and interview, and we will move forward.  He assured me that he is certain everything will be fine; he can't, however, make that promise.

All of this annoys me for several reasons.  First, even though Dr. English has assured me that this "isn't about me," it is very hard not to take this personally.  The three people who have expressed concern over a non-competitive hire have made no attempt to meet me, to learn about my work, or to learn about my teaching.  They simply assume that if this is a non-competitive search then, well, I must be below the standards of the department.  Second, none of these individuals cares that I've been teaching in their beloved department since 2009 (or that my teaching scores are a full point higher than the department average, but whatever).  Thus, I'm apparently worthy of teaching their students in both intro level courses and upper level courses, but I'm not worthy of being their colleague.  Third, they seem to have no understanding of how a partner placement could benefit a department.  In this case, specifically, they will have hired a person who does something that no one in their department does--in fact, this was a topic of conversation at a faculty meeting last year, as several junior members were appalled that a department of this size at a major research university does not have a T-T faculty member in this particular field.  Well, not only am I'm firmly in that field, but I also have a historical perspective on said field, something all major research universities in the States have started recognizing is crucial.  Further, I am the only member of said department who has been trained to teach underwater basket weaving, a field that this department is beginning to realize it will have to move into if it is to stay relevant.  Oh, and I'm already here.  They don't have to sell me on CU Land; and if I'm being totally honest, for a young, hot scholar in my field, CU Land would be a hard sell indeed.  Finally, I volunteer for committee work, I show up for meetings, I do my job and I do it well.  So what is the big friggin' deal?

The big friggin' deal is that these three individuals are so far out of touch with reality that not only do they simply not understand how all universities need to have a partner placement policy in place, but they also don't understand that keeping their faculty members happy (even if said faculty member works in another department) is crucial to keeping the university running.  They actually seem to believe there is a difference between them and me because I've worked as a lecturer in their department before earning my current appointment, which is a research based appointment.  And these are the people I was so excited to consider my colleagues only 3 days ago.

Friday, March 02, 2012

The Ultrasound

I had my 20 week U/S this morning, and following the hospital's policy, the tech was not allowed to tell us the baby's sex.  The radiologist will look at the images taken by the tech and then draft a report.  I'll be able to call my midwife on Wednesday to get the results.  I did, however, ask the tech if she got a good image of the appropriate area, and she said, "Yes, I don't think the doctor will have any trouble reading the image."  Archer and I left the appointment speculating on what that means (we both think this suggests that the baby is a boy), but we'll see what we see.  Following the appointment we had lunch and started debating names.  As with both Wild Man and Bear, boys' names are easier for us.  We have two names (nope, I'm not sharing) that we really like, although we're struggling with a middle name for one of these names.  Girls' names are harder for us, for some reason.  We have a list of about seven or eight, and we know the middle name will either be for Archer's grandmother or will be the same as my middle name (depending on the first name).  There isn't, however, a clear front runner.

Where am I on the baby's sex?  I've been thinking about this a lot.  I honestly thought I'd be a bit disappointed if the baby wasn't a girl, but now that the tech's statements have both of us thinking boy, I'm feeling relief and excitement.  Really, a boy would be easier.  I have lots of hand-me-downs (not that I am the type of person who is opposed to putting a girl in boys' clothes), and well, our house is geared for boys.  A third boy would simply enhance the chaos that is already present in our home and our lives, whereas a girl, well, a girl would enhance it in a different way--mostly, I think because of how other people would respond to us having a girl.  Archer and I wouldn't need to go out and buy a bunch of pink, but some of our friends and family members definitely would. But, as Archer put it this morning, a boy would be wonderful while a girl would allow us to experience things we haven't yet experienced as parents.  So we'll see what we see.