Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Putting things in perspective

I can't think about work today. I'm seeing news reports on Katrina. Puts things in perspective. I'm going to go home early and hug my kids.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Another notch in the belt

Yay! Today I submitted a paper to a (very good) journal. It's off my hard drive and into the hands of the reviewers now.

On the negative side, only two women showed up for BUFF lunch. The usual crowd: me, Donna, and Liz. But I enjoyed it, anyway. How can I get more female professors to come?


Summer is over. How do I know this? because the traffic was bad this morning. Everybody is going back to work and back to school.

Today they are working on installing my new $175,000 piece of equipment. First I needed 3 220-volt outlets, so I called the University's Facilities Dept, who charged my about $100 per outlet and installed them two weeks later in the wrong lab. Then the came back the next week and put them in the right lab (and didn't charge me for the change, at least). Then the installer showed up and informed me that the bench top was too small, so we ran to Home Depot and bought a sheet of solid oak and bolted it to the benchtop to make it bigger. But by then the installers were busy with something else, and now it has been more than a month since this nightmare started.

Today I am hosting a lunch for the Beautiful Untenured Female Faculty (BUFF) on my campus. I do this frequently, but I didn't have a BUFF lunch over the summer because I was busy/lazy. I have a hard time getting women to show up for these lunches, which is one reason I am holding them less frequently. But since classes have not officially started, I am hoping for a good turnout today.

Saturday, August 27, 2005


I don't have time for this, but here I am. I am starting my second year on the tenure track at a large research university in a hard science department. I am married with two kids (3 and 6 yrs old).

Let's jump right in to today's panic:
My older son is starting first grade in two weeks, and I signed him up for the after care program at his school. Or so I thought. I mailed in the registration June 9, eight days after the deadline of June 1, and then I never heard back from them. I talked to one of the other moms and she said she never heard back either, but they cashed her check so she assumes that means her son is in. So a week later, when I had time (today) I checked and found that they have NOT cashed my check, and therefore my son is presumably on the waiting list. This is yet another example of a situation in which it is important to check your assumptions. I assumed:

That the after care program would have enough slots for all the kids at that school.
That they would bother to contact me if my son had been waitlisted.

Both, as it turns out, COMPLETELY UNREASONABLE assumptions. Now what am I going to do?

This is only a small part of why I am panicking. I have to go to a training session for my new $175,000 piece of analytical equipment from Sept 19-22. Then I'm supposed to go on a cruise for eight days sometime in October, but we don't know when the boat will be available, so they can't give me exact dates, and I'm going to a big conference the week before Thanksgiving, AND I am supposed to drive 11 hours each way to see my family for Thanksgiving. I'm thinking of bagging Thanksgiving with the family anyway, because now that my older son is in public school, I have to live by their schedule, which appears to have been made up by a collection of people on LSD. It includes half-days the week of Thanksgiving. And for some reason there is no school and Nov 8th, 10th, and 11th. That is a Tuesday, Thursday, Friday. But they do have school on Monday and Wednesday. It's idiotic. Can I pull my son out of school for the half-day before Thanksgiving? Will I be branded as a bad mom?

So I'm going to be travelling a lot in the next few months, and I know my husband is going to hate it. when he goes away, he notifies me maybe a week ahead of time and we don't have to make any special arrangements. When I go away, we have to plan months in advance so that he can have help while I'm gone.

So that's why I'm panicking. Join me next time as I explore ways to get help with childcare from almost total strangers.