Friday, November 11, 2005

Survival

I think my head is going to explode. I have only ever had one semester worse than this one. That was Fall 2001, when we had the 9/11 attacks, anthrax, I was pregnant, and I was teaching the lab class for the first time. It helps me to reflect on that awful semester, because it makes this one seems not so bad by comparison. But it has been bad, mostly because of all the travel. I was supposed to go on that cruise in the Atlantic. Well it left on Sunday, and since it conflicted with (a) three days when public schools were closed, (b) my husband's three day business trip, and (c) my leaving for my week-long meeting in Baltimore, I did not go. I sent my technician instead. The boat was supposed to return on Saturday, but my tech called yesterday and told me that bad weather had driven them back to port and they were going to extend the cruise through Tuesday to make up for the lost time. I could hear the seasickness in his voice. I still wish I could have gone, it would have been exciting. But there is only so much one human can stand.

So now I am preparing to leave for my big trip to Baltimore. This is the one big conference that I hit every year, and for some godawful reason they have to schedule it the week before Thanksgiving. I was asked to be on the planning committee for this year's meeting, and I niavely said yes, not realizing the effort involved. No one explained to me what my duties would be at the meeting itself. They have been having conference calls to plan it all, but this Fall they have all been on Fridays, when I have my lab class. So last Friday I actually listened in on the conference call while I was watching my students do their lab. I missed a couple of conference calls, so I obviously missed some important information, but the communication is so bad within the Program Committee that I did not know until Monday that I was expected to be in Baltimore by Friday at 2. Hah! I guess they assume no one on the program committee has a life. So I told them I couldn't be there, and politely informed them that they need to give people a little more notice on these things. I am leaving Saturday at noon, which is bad enough since it means my husband has to spend pretty much the whole weekend alone with the kids. He is very frustrated with me right now. I am also leaving the meeting a little early so that I can get home on Thursday in time to pick up the kids from school. That should really endear me to the program committee. I was supposed to turn right around and go to NYC on that Friday, but I have made an executive decision that I'm going to bag it. I just can't handle it. I will participate in that meeting by phone. I'm not going to commute 2 hours each way for a 3-hour meeting.

Today I have to once again bluff my way through lab class with no data, since the HPLC is not working. Last night I went to the grocery store, and I am working on the laundry so that I can lay out the boys' outfits for all the days I am gone. I already made out menus.

If I can just survive the next week things will start to get better. Wish me luck.

1 Comments:

Blogger ScienceWoman said...

I think you are smart to simply so "No " to some of your commitments. Good luck to you in surviving the rest of the semester. You'll be in my thoughts.

2:19 PM  

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