Monday, October 28, 2019

That was fun*

*Enjoy this PSA called "When you finish a project, clean up your files and make yourselves some notes so you don't have to reinvent the wheel forty seven times when the reviews come back, DUMBASS."**
**I should be doing that right now shouldn't I?***

Sometime last Thursday I realized that since I would be away for yet another weekend that I would need to do a few things that night to prepare, like write an entire newsletter, finish the revisions on a paper I'd been anxiety-avoiding, and prep for two classes (Friday and Monday).  This was not a happy realization but one I really should have had a long time before that point given that my responsibilities really do not change that much from week to week.

(I'm just realizing that I forgot to tell you that I went on a work trip to Minnesota the weekend before last--it was excellent, as my October trip to Minnesota to learn about Matlab always is, but this time I had a few more responsibilities in my facilitator role and it was exhausting.  Got back at midnight Tuesday, taught eight and a half hours later, went to choir, muddled through some piddly work tasks, had kid fun, collapsed in a puddle.  I'd show you pictures of that trip but the only pictures I took were of the front of a church I thought was pretty, a house with books all over the porch, and of me saluting an Irish fiddle band with a pint of stout.)

Naturally only some of that got done (I planned class and wrote the newsletter and spent a lot of good time staring at my computer in anger) and the revisions were put off until sometime in the future.  Fortunately I had a couple of hours of downtime each night on the retreat I went on this weekend and also there was no TV in my room so I cuddled up with Matlab once again and powered through until I couldn't keep my eyes open.

(I should mention that this particular hell was of my own making, since the reviewer asked me to change the font size on the graph (among other things), not, like, redo the entire analysis, and it therefore would have been easy if I did not have to waste time reimagining what the me of six months ago was thinking when she created four versions of the same Matlab code, with very subtle differences, that called on four different versions of every function I wrote, and that used datasets with names like "HoustonCompositeDetrendedTHISONE12.txt")

Which is how I found myself today after class sitting down for what I thought would be a simple last pass through the revisions.  Other than a faculty meeting, I was glued to my desk all day, working in a heightened panic, slapping everything together, finding (AT LAST), the piece of code I was missing to make everything just right (it was in a different, but nearly identical, directory from the one I'd been working in), and finally went to submit it at 3:20 (had to leave to get the kids at 3:30), to find that instead of just replying to the editor's email I had to wade through the crazy paper management system (we've handled reviews by email before) which took some trial and error.  Clicked "Submit" at 3:31, ran to my car and peeled out of the parking lot and by some gift of the universe I had enough time to put gas in my car (45 miles left in the tank!) and go to the bathroom (for the first time since 7:00 that morning) before getting the kids, screeching across town to piano, taking the other kids to the grocery store, and then heading home to make dinner.

Bedtime is done now and Ryan is at a meeting so obviously there are cookies and wine and a book.

And strenuously avoiding the topic of the silly but labor intensive holiday coming up on Thursday.


Monday, October 14, 2019

Zombie Fall Break

OMG you guys do you remember when I said that Fall "Break" was almost OVER?? Well apparently there was a little mixup and I was wrong and today (Monday) is actually the Fall "Break" that you thought was good and dead after you stabbed a wooden stake through its heart but actually got up and is stalking around behind you. Because today is BONUS STAFF DEVELOPMENT FALL BREAK DAY SIX. Do not pass go, do not go to work, do not accomplish anything on your growing list of neglected professional obligations, do not collect two-hundred dollars.

There was a bit of confusion on the school Facebook page and a bunch of confused texting among my peer group (my peer group apparently is similarly good with details) but the bottom line was that there was no school today. After having a little tantrum about it while buying milk and eggs on the way home from spending eight hours at church, I bought some movie tickets and drank a glass of wine and decided to be a good sport about it.

Let's back up though because spending eight hours at church on a Sunday was some kind of record. A few weeks ago my friend called and asked if I'd be willing to do the children's sermon this weekend and because this is the Year of Yes, I said, well, yes, even though it is well known at church that I "am not a children person." I am frankly a little surprised that they trusted me up there with a microphone because I have been QUITE the squeaky wheel the last six or so months, but they did. They asked me to talk about generosity, so I read part of the Elephant and Piggie book called "Should I Share My Ice Cream" and we talked a little bit and it really went quite well. Part of the reason it went well is because I had to do it four times in a row, so by the last time it was sounding pretty polished. I did not expect to enjoy it as much as I did and I even liked the added pressure of being a Generally Cheerful and Warm Person during the Passing of the Peace because I was easily identified by my over-the-ear microphone as a Participant in the Service (Mary was enthralled by the microphone and reached up to gently touch it with one finger on multiple occasions.)

Feeling too self conscious to take a decent selfie.


In the middle of the four services I had to go outside and lead the service we've been doing in the courtyard (the other people who do that service offered to cover for me during the children's sermon Sunday but I said "No thanks, I want to see what I'm made of.") so I talked a little bit about how "This Little Light of Mine" has a history as a protest anthem, sang "Lord of the Dance" with my friend Jimmy on guitar, and then ran back inside for more Elephant and Piggie.

Somewhere in there Ryan took all four kids to a Scout meeting and gave everyone lunch and haircuts, so he's the real hero of this story.

(An aside: I just heard something being poured into a bowl, the sound of the microwave, and then a scuffle, a kid stomp up the stairs and slam a door, and now a sickly sweet smell is wafting up the stairs. #FALLBREAKDOWN)

Anyway. Today I rowed and caught up on some reading before they noticed I had arrived home. Then we went to the movies and then to the pumpkin patch (back! at! church!) and now we are home to bicker it out and apparently perform science experiments in the microwave. I have big plans to make bread pudding for dessert which will require a klassy trip to the liquor store with four kids in tow,(SERENITY NOW).




Friday, October 11, 2019

Fall "Break"

As it turns out, a bonus week off of school for the kids is sorta complicated when Ryan and I don't also have that same stretch of time off. We cobbled together a sort of workable situation but that didn't stop my department chair from walking into my office this morning to deliver some important professional news to find four children sprawled on my office floor watching Hocus Pocus while I attempted to work at my desk.

Monday I taught my 8:30 class and then Ryan dropped the kids off at my office on his way to work. We headed home for lunch and then headed to a hiking trail by a river for the rest of the day. I took lots of pictures of the kids being all cute and happy and then after I made a smug post to Facebook about our wholesome family hiking outing the freaking bottom fell out and we bickered our way through the next couple of hours. Things came to a head in the form of a giant four way tantrum (me plus three kids, Charley was kind of above it all) that was triggered by one kid threatening another with his walking stick but was really the result of ninety minutes of straight BITCHING from two of the kids. Epilogue we endured a tense ride home and then everyone was sent to bed, again including me. By the time Ryan came home I was drinking in the front yard and went to bed shortly after that. #familymemories!

We had such a good time for like thirty minutes!






The good news is that once that was out of our systems the rest of the week was delightful. Ryan took them on a bike ride and park trip, plus swim practice and a doctor's appointment on Tuesday and reported great behavior. Wednesday after my class I spent a couple of quiet hours working in a bookstore cafe A-L-O-N-E and then we went on a family sailing trip that turned out to be a blast.





Thursday they came to school for one of my classes and then went home with my parents (also this day was slightly complicated by the fact that I locked my keys in the car and left so much later than I wanted to to head to class that we couldn't find anywhere to park and had to run across campus as a noisy group). They sat in the back of my engineering statics class and Mary took really amazing notes.


We played outside for half an hour before my next class and then my parents came to pick them up and it was a really nice time and it is important to notice how nice it was when we were outside because today we woke up and it was fifty and raining. I taught one last class before Ryan arrived and the kids hung out in my office watching movies before a pleasant dining hall lunch and a choir rehearsal (where Mary stood with me on the risers and sang along with every word, even the song we do that's in Hebrew).

(As I write this James and Mary are having a fight over the bathroom door so if I leave you abruptly it's because someone lost a finger.)