Friday, April 11, 2014

Pro Tip:

Space OUT major projects, events, and un-reschedulable-stuff.*  For example, it was not the best idea ever to a) sign a house-buying contract during finals week; b) then have to schedule inspections immediately thereafter; all of this c) the day before one's spouse receives 40 finals to grade by d) MONDAY, which is e) the first night of Pesach**, for which f) one's 80-year-old grandmother is flying in from California.  

It reminds me of once in college, when a former student, back from grad school, gave a talk.  I remember nothing he (or possibly she) said except "Don't have your thesis defense and a baby in the same month.  Just don't."

* You'd think I'd know this by now, eh?
** A holiday for which one traditionally cleans crumbs out of ALL THE THINGS, especially (ahem) my car, in which many a goldfish cracker has died, and my counter, where the flour lives, and my fridge, because I empty-and-clean it only twice a year.  And this is one of them.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

This Is Just To Say

... that arranging-things details are spilling out of my ears.

I was, at one time, able to a) run my own multi-year, multi-project research program while editing a journal and volunteering weekly and later b) manage a tech support team along with all its extremely varied needs, work on many software projects, and have a small child.  This is a mystery to me.  Yesterday I had to a) take Bug to a kindergarten-observation slot; b) take Bug to preschool; and c) go to a meeting.  I forgot the observation and was late to the meeting.  I would have been late to preschool, but it was on the way to the meeting.

We have made an offer on an ugly-ass house.  It may have lead paint and asbestos.  I have been arranging for testing for these things - this involves labs, licenses, accreditation, inspectors, contract amendments... it goes on and on.  Why is Dr. S not dealing with any of this?  Because it is finals week and he has until noon on Monday to submit all the grades.

Perhaps my brain is full of these details to the exclusion of all others.  Yesterday I set something out for dinner, forgot it, and cooked something completely different.  I also defrosted a chicken, and then realized that it was not a good idea.  Pesach is Monday.  We are going out of town.  I still have to clean/boil the entire kitchen. Send help, brandy, minions, and secretaries.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Depressing, But Not In Error

Last week, Dr. S finally printed out his wage statement from Mountain U.  I sat down to do the taxes and saw they had listed "Federal Withholding: $0".  I promptly panicked and demanded he call HR right away (they were closed).

Eventually he got in touch with them.  The response? "Yes, we got your W-2; yes, we calculated your salary times twelve months.  Your federal tax liability should essentially be zero because you are poor.  Stop bothering us now."


Friday, April 04, 2014

In Which My Brain Is Scattered

I should be doing a lot of things.  Instead!  Here I am typing away.

For instance, my in-laws are, in theory, showing up in town tonight (doubtless at some ungodly inconvenient hour).  Have I cleaned the bathrooms or put away any of the laundry-pile infestation?  Have I acquired any food they would be happy to eat?  I have not.  In fact, we're almost out of bread, too.  They've 'changed their minds' so many times that a) I fail to believe they'll show up until they're at my door and b) I don't give a fuck if they judge my housekeeping.  Even though it's Dr. S's housekeeping, mainly.  (He folds laundry, does dishes, and sweeps, and we split bathroom cleaning.  It's the week before finals, and we were away last weekend, and one of his students just plagiarized something, which generated a tornado of possible-expulsion paperwork and meetings.)

This morning, Bug went to preschool, and then he had a check-up.  When he was crying and kicking in the car ("I don't WANT a shot!") did I calmly and compassionately soothe him?  Did I give him a goodbye hug?  I did not.  (Also he had been screaming, jumping like a frog, and throwing tantrums for an hour, and my compassion was low.)

We are making yet another offer on a house - this one very BLAAAAAH.  I can envision it after $40,000 of new materials and a lot of work, and Dr. S can't, and therefore we are differing degrees of BLAH about it.  However, any house where one's conversation includes, "Well, if we took a prybar to that wall in the basement and knocked out part of the kitchen with a sledgehammer..." will not lead to overwhelming joy.  Perhaps acceptance. We will see.  I can't decide if I'd be sadder if they do or don't accept our offer.  (There are good, logical, reasonable, compelling reasons to buy this house.  None of them are exciting reasons.  This house is that accountant you date in college and you come home and say "Unobjectionable in every way.  Heavens, I was so bored.")

... and now I have to get the child from 'quiet time'*, cook, clean, fold, sign things, go to the real estate agent's office, go to the grocery, go to a consignment sale, go to dinner at the Hillel, and collapse onto the couch just in time for my in-laws to wake up my children.  I'm exhausted just thinking about it.

*Mama needs to eat her lunch in peace, kid.

Monday, March 31, 2014

In Which I Go Full-On Watering Pot at Toddler Storytime

Last week, I took Tatoe for his regularly scheduled Library Toddler Storytime.  I brought along my knitting, as I usually do, because toddlers can be boring.  Afterwards, they were all playing with play dough and a woman I kind-of-know asked what I was knitting.

"A present for a friend's baby." I said. "She had some tragic events recently and I hope this baby makes it."

"Oh," she said.  "We lost four.  Seven pregnancies, three children.  We lost three right in a row.  I look at little girls who would be that age, sometimes, and I still feel sad.  And nobody talks about it, or they do and then they get upset and you end up reassuring them and it's even worse.  When did your friend lose hers?"

So of course I said "I'm so sorry to hear that, it's just terrible" and told her (in general, privacy-protecting terms, though these people will almost-certainly never meet) and we both sat there in front of all the small children and their parents and the librarian with tears streaming down our faces.  I've never lost a child, but I know so many people who have, all the way from garden-variety infertility to sudden and inexplicable stillbirth, and it's such a tragedy and awful and terrible and I'm probably going to cry every time it comes up ever.   

Anyhow.  Clearly I should bring a different knitting project to the library.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


I keep applying for jobs and having All The Feelings about it.  Usually they consist of "Wait!  Do I really want a job?  Do I really not want a job?  Do I merely fear and loathe change?  Would I be terrible at this job? I just don't KNOW.  Oh, WHY did I hit 'submit'? Fuck fuck fuck."

The latest:

A full time Bicycle Company related job, which actually sounds dead fucking boring, the equivalent of assembling bicycle chains 20 hours a week, answering helpdesk-style questions 10 hours a week, and dealing with miscellaneous actual problems the other 10 hours.  90 minutes away.  I phone-interviewed for it, because my spouse thought I should and I didn't think it would hurt anything, but there is pretty much no way I would take it.  (I applied during that unfortunate week in December when my spouse was going to be unemployed, and they might get around to on-site interviews in April.  Or May.  They're not sure. Academia, there is so much wrong with you.)

A technology job, part-time, gofer/peon level, at Mountain U, that anyone with a moderate level of tech competence could do.  The interviewers' questions seemed to indicate some serious doubt that I would make a good peon, long-term, as opposed to getting completely bored after, say, my youngest child goes to school.  The phrase they used was "a lot of jobs where you were calling the shots".  I kind of want it anyways, but they do have a point.  Also I'm 99% sure they've already offered it to someone else and are holding me in reserve as second choice, which is why I have heard nothing despite the fact that I know they've already decided.  Additional awkward:  the supervisor is in my knitting group.  Of course!  It's a small town!  [I just got a call: yep, offered to someone else.]

A full-time job as the person running a campus religious organization (you can interpolate - I really, really don't want this to come up on Teh Googles).  Surprisingly, aside from asking people for money, I actually have every qualification they want (publishing, religious involvement and leadership, community service, living on small campuses, academic experience).  I am equally depressed by the prospects of getting and not getting this job.  What is wrong with me?  One of the high-up administrators is on the board of this campus-religious-organization AND is in my spouse's department (she's on leave to the admin side) AND asked my spouse three times if I was sure I didn't want to apply.  If they offer it to me and I want to decline, I'm going to have to make up a really convincing excuse. And they're offering a reasonable salary range, at least in theory near a quantity I might accept.  And I'd probably be pretty good at it.  I don't know if I'm ready to go back to work.  Hell, I don't know if I'll ever be ready to go back to work.

(Here is where I must insert the obligatory reminder that this is a very, very small town, and therefore each job opening that comes up is essentially unique and will not come up again in that form, and so I do really have to consider if I would like, be good at, and/or desire that job under any conditions at all.  Of course there will always be something, but there will most assuredly not be that again.)

It's a specialty of the house to freak out in advance so that, when things actually happen, I can deal with them in a calm and reasonable fashion (usually).  So I'm going to take a deep breath, repeat over and over "Everything will be okay one way or another and it's always better to have choices", and go lay down on top of a heating pad again.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

A Brief Moment of Snark

My mother and youngest sister, Prudence, recently went to California for her mother's 80th birthday.  While there, one of my aunts was harping on how, more than thirty years ago at my grandmother's (third) wedding, when I was a crabby napless toddler, I threw a fit and was sassy to my mother.  How could my mother let me get away with it?  Why didn't she just spank me?  How could we grow up to be disciplined, well-adjusted adults?

This prompted Prudence* to say to my mother, about this aunt's daughter:  "She lives in her dad's old double-wide.  And that tells you everything you need to know."

*Who is an ICU nurse.