Monday, June 20, 2016


The other week:

"I'm making plans.  Secret plans.  Alligator plans."

Friday, June 17, 2016

Me to Dr. S: "When the provost says 'call me tonight', you call the provost.  Now."

Sunday, June 12, 2016

You Never Write, You Never Call

Dear Readers, there have been THINGS going on.

(I have three small children.  There are always THINGS, frankly.)

I weaned Sweetpea two months ago; I have been either pregnant or nursing for seven of the last eight years. My health was most charitably described as not fantastic.  I am now giving my health a year to recover from All That Stuff.  (Also, a nice course of steroids and three kinds of antihistamines... yeah.)

I rage-quit the local LLL group after one round too many of "Food before one is just for fun!"  Oddly, the WHO believes it is for not having fucking malnutrition. Apparently science is only for when convenient.

My lovely flower bed is almost too full of plants to plant anything else.

(I have started another, deer-resistant, one.  There are worse problems to have.)

My part-time job has had Issues.  I can't really talk about those issues. Let's just say, someone quit but is still hanging around, someone needs to be hired temporarily, the local accreditor threw their usual fit over 18 Credit Hours Of Thing (my actual PhD in science from fucking Snooty U may be insufficient qualification to keep first-year students from setting themselves on fire, and teach them titration, my hand to God).  A somewhat unfortunate conversation left me with the impression that my work is not valued.  This set off a round of my Screw You Reflex, which was already present due to Person Who Quit (I have applied for 6 jobs in the last 3 months).

Also, I've been engaged in fine round of reflection on "Is this what I really want to be doing with my life?"

I am an adjunct.  I'm well-paid to do this, but there is no room for any kind of advancement, more pay, or even more work.  How long do I want to do this?  I don't know.  Somewhere between one more year and five more years, but probably not more than that.  Also, they still haven't told me if I'll even be teaching... in August.  You know, in two months.

So!  What am I going to do with my life?  I have been working on it.

Here are the things I value: time to pursue hobbies like gardening; money; social interaction with reasonable humans; work that I feel has purpose; work that is interesting; work that has social value to me;

Right now, I have very little time not devoted to child-wrangling, and so only the social-interaction gets filled. That is necessary, but not sufficient.  What would be sufficient?  At least two.  Time and social value would do, but that won't happen until the children are all in school.  Otherwise, one needs to be money.

ADJUNCTING:  Pluses: convenient, local, money per hour is good.  Minuses: cap means my max earnings there ever will be ~30,000/year (for 15-20 hr/week of work for 9 months a year); will likely never do anything but intro chem; lack of professional respect*; nowhere to go; may limit future career prospects; unpleasant uncertainty until the last minute, apparently forever.  Uncertain factors: New boss who isn't really the boss yet; nobody knows what is happening including new boss.**  VERDICT: Form exit strategy for within next 4 years.***

SKIPPING TOWN: Pluses: literally anywhere else has more employment prospects.  Minuses: we are near my parents, who are fantastic and make my life 50% easier; we live in literally the most beautiful part of the state; we have a nice house and a really good life; the local public schools are pretty good; a huge set of benefits including college tuition; Dr. S has a fantastic job with fantastic people, which he really likes and which is basically optimized in a lot of ways that are difficult to achieve.  In essence, all parameters except 'acceptable employment for me' are met.  Surely I can find something acceptable in the next four years?

WAITING IT OUT: Jobs do, periodically, come open at the colleges.  (One for which I applied is now open AGAIN because the lady they hired instead of me... up and quit!).

MOAR EDUCATION: Pluses: there is an online course at Nearby Respected State University in computer stuff; this would probably make me more competitive for all the IT stuff.  Would actually give me interesting useful skills.  Minuses: Would still need to find something I could do remotely, or would have to commute 2+ hrs/day; or could wait it out for an IT job at local college (iffy!).  Money for course (not excessive).

REALLY MOAR EDUCATION: I could go get a bachelor's in computer science and redo from start.  While this seems ridiculous, if my knowledge/experience/credentials are doing me no good now, they are a sunk cost and it's time to move on.  Pluses: I could be a programmer for real! More possibilities for remote work. Minuses: Time, initial investment, other programmers.

POSSIBLE JOB AT COLLEGE IN NEXT CITY OVER: I applied for an adjunct job there and the chair emailed me about a job opening up next year.  I mean... really?  There is no way.  But let's pretend. Would I even want to do this?  I DON'T KNOW.

POSSIBLE OTHER JOBS:  Would need to convince various parties to employ me long-distance.  Current job contacts work in defense (I am an honest-to-God pacifist) and education software (about which I know little).  Would prob need at least the Moar Ed option.

I have no more time to reflect right now, but, More Thoughts Later.

* I am 'not competetive' for a 'real' faculty job because I didn't go do research at an R1 for 5 years after getting my honest-to-God research PhD.  Which, fine, whatever, I wasn't willing to pay that price.  But still: Academia, DIAF.

** We did have a friendly conversation the other day in which I said "If this continues to be one course per semester there will come a time when it is no longer worth it to me." (Implied: That time will be really soon.)

*** At which point Sweetpea will be in school and Dr. S will have gone up for tenure, which gives us both more latitude and time to deal with everything and, for many reasons, would make it easier for him to find another job if we have to burn it all down and move.

Thursday, June 09, 2016


I look at pictures of other people's tiny babies and I think, "My God, I can't believe we survived the last year and a half."

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

I Have Robot Feelings

Lots of people have some personal thing they're spectacular at: remembering birthdays, or organization, or personal style (someone who always looks splendid, and she's fun to boot!  I envy her style skills while accepting that I will never be that person), or caring and empathetic (another friend who is always unfailingly kind).

Mine is robot feelings.  I have lots of feelings, obviously, but they don't need to influence my fact-based decisions.  Also, other people's feelings make me uncomfortable (in professional settings).   GOALS are important.  Turning in grades on time is important.  My dislike for [staff person] is irrelevant.  Everyone else's dislike for [staff person] is irrelevant.  Fire [staff person] or stop talking about it.

Or, to be more accurate, I am half-Vulcan.

What's your excellent personal thing?

Friday, May 27, 2016

Subsidizing My Spouse

Dear Readers, I don't know where the time goes.... actually, I do: whenever the children are not needing something, I just want to sit and read a book.  (All one hour of daylight when this is true. Some of the time, instead, I cook dinner or clean or put in another load of laundry.)

Right now is a point in my life where my work subsidizes my spouse's career.

This is what his life looks like outside of work:
Pack child lunches*; make coffee in morning; take children to school; play with children after work; wash dishes; take out trash; do investments.  Mow lawn.  Sweep and clean on weekends.

This is what my life looks like outside of (three hours a week, which are now over, of) work:
Get children from school; arrange all childcare; do all grocery shopping; cook all dinners and lunches; feed baby eight times a day; book tradespeople; pay bills; make and execute all medical and dental appointments for everyone but spouse.  Wash laundry; remove spiders from house; go to library with children; obtain clothing for all members of family.  Car maintenance.  All paperwork having to do with everything but work.  Bills. Arrange sports and extracurriculars.

(Shortly it will be Summer, No More School, and spouse will get to skip lunches and take-children-to-school, and I'll have them all the time!  Except for camp.  All hail camp.)

Do you see anything enjoyable on that list?  I do not.  I dislike all of it.  More precisely, I dislike being obligated to do all these things.  And yet, it is irrational to push it off onto my spouse.  I give it good odds that we will stay married for a long time (barring death, you know) and so it makes sense to put all one's tenure eggs in one basket.  In the meantime, I kind of hate it all.

* The big one packs his own lunch but requires some supervision.

Next time I have time: pondering the possibilities of work options. Spoiler: few.

Friday, May 20, 2016

On Working

Dear Readers, my course is over for the year and I am bored.

You know what?  I don't really value stay-at-home-parenting.  It's necessary that someone should do all the Stuff but damn, I'd rather be doing something else.  As a corollary, I have no plans to ever home-school because I value my professional labor over my child-wrangling/educating labor.*  Also, the thought gives me hives. I pretty much loathe being stuck at home with screaming children and/or in Nap Jail, trying to make food I can't eat for children who are going to whine about it.**

I'm applying for jobs^ and talking to the new chair^^ and trying to work stuff out but people, this is a HARD time.

Problem: Boredom
Solutions: More stuff to do
Impediment: None of it is stuff I want to do (cleaning, laundry, fucking dinner fucking again)
Other Solutions: More job
Impediment: Two cows per person; county population 24,000

Problem: Many small children
Solution: Time, drinking
Impediment: Have had to give up drinking for boring medical reasons
Other Solutions: More chocolate

Problem: Lack of employment
Solution: Apply for more jobs
Impediment: Lack of jobs
Other Solutions: More chocolate; more gym

Problem: Loneliness
Solution: Talk to people more
Impediment: I don't like people
Other Solutions: Find more logical/rational people.  Where ARE they?

* Notice how I don't say I would never.  I recognize that there are many life circumstances that may make home-schooling rewarding, necessary, or Something That Is Happening.  Great for you!  Not great for me. Also not, at the moment, necessary for me.

** Overlapping set of things I can eat that the children will reliably eat: hummus, tortilla chips, scrambled eggs.  Citrus fruit and pineapple.  ... that's pretty much it.  We discourage the whining with great vigor, and yet.  

^ All one of them that pay above $10/hour

^^ SOMEtime, who knows when, for Boring Academic Politics Reasons.