Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Trying Hard Not To Be Dragged Down

My chair and dean are un-fucking-believable. So yesterday the chair asks me if I might want to teach an on-line technical writing class during my maternity leave, under the guise of doing me a favor to give me a little extra money. So, how would this work then? I use up all my paid leave and then they start paying me for the class after that leave runs out? And what part of "maternity leave" do these jackholes exactly not understand?

They also keep pushing this technical writing class on me. As far as I know, neither of the other junior male colleagues are having this pushed on them. I'm confused as to how there's no one teach in American lit, and they just can't spare me because of all these American lit classes, and yet they can find a way to substitute for me a technical writing class in lieu of an American lit class? I told her again that I do not now, nor will ever, have any desire to teach technical writing or teach a class on-line. EVER. I feel like I have indeed met my taking hits for the team requirement for some time at least. And seriously, I wonder why the other two junior colleagues are not being badgered about this. I do believe the next time this comes up I will need to ask why either of these two gentlemen can't do it? I don't want to throw them under the bus, but it seems to me that they are trying to establish me as the "go to" girl in the department (and might I stress "girl" here), and that is certainly a reputation I do NOT want to get. You know what? Ask one of your underpaid instructors if they want to make more money? Granted, our instructors are paid better than most adjuncts, get their own office, and get benefits, and most take an overload if offered. And most of the instructors are actually trained to teach technical writing, so no. Not on maternity leave. Not during the winter. Not ever. And honestly, if they're not careful, then they will find themselves without me, even if it means I take a job as a trash collector at this point.

My week is not going quite as planned. I was not able to accomplish what I needed to during my office hours yesterday, and I was going to get up early with the J and start working at 5:30, and then I said, "fuck that! work straight from 5:30 to 2 pm? Then turn around and go to lead a thesis defense at 4pm? Again, I say, fuck that!" So I decided to sleep in, enjoy my coffee, and then I'll knock out of the thesis what I can during my office hours. It's ok. It's not great. It'll pass. I wish it were better, but oh well.

Right now I'm sorta at this point where I don't give a shit. That's a bad place to be, but I can't get sucked into a vortex of stress and anger again. And it's not my problem to basically save the department every time they find themselves in a bind. That's not my job. I think at this point taking the overload and not bitching to their faces about it, I think I have fulfilled my duties here for a while. It's someone else's turn to step the fuck up. And I'm starting to get bitchy and jaded about the the whole "well, there's no one else" business.

Anyway, I have enjoyed my morning. I must go get ready now for another long day that I'm trying not to be angry about because it should be my day off.

And I found out that regardless of my teaching schedule, I will be charged a five day work week for maternity leave because apparently regardless of a MWF schedule, the expectation is that I should be working all five days, so I will be charged for all five days, which I think is bullshit, but whatever. And because of this quarter's cluster fuck, I am now going without 4.5 weeks pay rather than 3.5 weeks pay, so that's another $1500 or so I'm losing, and one can pay a lot of bills with that. Oh well.

At least on Thursday we head to Home City, although there's still some question as to where we're staying because the water has been turned off at the house because our tenant/former roommate hasn't paid the water bill since November, and if the house looks anything like it did when we got there for Thanksgiving, I won't stay there. Anyway, Friday I have a hair appointment with my favorite hairdresser. We are going furniture shopping so we can check out some things that we plan on ordering but aren't available for us to try out/see in this area. I'd like to get a mani/pedi at my favorite place. And then we have reservations Friday night at our favorite French restaurant (which we can't really afford, but we haven't had a "date night" in forever, and this is a special place). Saturday I have a baby shower (yay!!) and we'll eat dinner at our favorite pizza joint, and then leave early Sunday  morning. And at least I have Monday off. I should have had Monday and Tuesday off, but well, I promise I'll stop bitching about this eventually.

And now, to take out the mutts and get ready for the day.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Breathe. I CAN do this.

Now that I've had almost a week to just be bitter and seething with anger, hatred, and just all over vile putredness for all parties involved, this is my seventh day in a row with a stomach ache, my sixth day in a row waking up with one. I have a giant knot under my shoulder blade and some back pain. And honestly, the Magpie has been punching and kicking the ever lovin $hit out of me for the last 24 hours.

I believe the time has come for me to shift my focus from this week and all of the real and imagined injustices of the world I have feel have been heaped on me this week and move on to self-care. My body forced me to do so a bit yesterday when totally and completely beyond my control and planning I just passed out on the couch. I had intended to take a break from work, and lunch upset my stomach (again), but my brain and my body had other things in mind. And it seems as if the Magpie is like, "Dammit woman! WTF do I have to do in here to get your attention?!"

After some major heartburn last night, and another day of horrible, lazy, convenient eating, and again, my sixth day of waking up with a stomachache, it's clear that the time has now come to let all of this go. What's done is done, and while I need to do my job, it's honestly not going to kill anyone or short change my students any more than they are going to be if some prep is sacrificed so that I can maintain the things that keep me sane. The world will not end if I'm mostly prepped rather than fully prepped. They will not care if this means they get out of class 10-15 minutes early nor will they sit back and say, "hey, we were really jipped out of our education here because she let us go early." Rather, what will be worse is if I'm totally ragged out and barely functioning and not able to do my job at all. Furthermore, the heightened stress isn't worth the risk of elevating my blood pressure and increasing my risk of preterm labor or pre-eclcampsia. And I don't need to be eating junk like pizza and fast food and not exercising because 30 more pounds of weight gain is going to hurt me, too.

Plus, I figure the best revenge, and the thing that is going to give me the most bargaining power later is to still get my shit done and shove it in everyone's faces because then if I get denied my course release again next year in favor of other male colleague "needing" his, I feel like this will give me even more ammo (besides the "how come you can find money in the budget to release the men from their courses, but not me??) because now it will look like lack of productivity is being rewarded rather than my productivity being rewarded. Now, whether or not this is actually true, please don't tell me otherwise, because this is the thing motivating me right now. Let me live in my delusion if it is one.

So this morning, rather than immediately beginning work upon waking, I am taking my time. Enjoying my coffee, blogging, waiting for my tummy to settle. I've had to cancel on seeing the grandparents until the end of April. I had a decent stress-release cry this morning already before the J left for drill, and I am determined, come hell or high water to get the food for the week prepped today so that I can have some good meals and won't be scrambling at the last minute because I feel for sure, knowing what I learned this summer, that my diet is most certainly making my stress and everything worse right now. And I've got more than just myself to think about right now.

I do have a lot on my plate today, but because we're not going to the grandparents', because I don't have to go grocery shopping (we have all this food from last week, most of it frozen that didn't get cooked then) except to get yogurt, and because I don't have to do any real laundry, all I need to do as far as my "chores" are concerned is prep the veggies for the week, I think I can get everything done today--read the poetry stuff for M & W. Tuesday's readings were done yesterday. Thursday I'm out of town. Friday is Easter break, and so is Monday, although next weekend is a wash because we'll be out of town and on the road Thursday and Sunday. Friday and Saturday are packed full of stuff. Anyway, read, write a letter of recommendation that my student has been patiently waiting for for over a week now. And get at least halfway through the thesis I need to read for Tuesday. So then Monday I can grade the stuff that's coming in (thankfully only one class!), finish the thesis, and try to begin next Tuesday's readings during my office hours if there's time. I plan to spend my time Tuesday morning working on my conference paper during my office hours. Then I have the thesis defense sometime Tuesday--no one has bothered to set a time because we're waiting on the dean. And then Wednesday morning I'll finish up whatever grading is leftover either from Monday or if anything comes in Tuesday. And then I'll just use next week's readings as my "bedtime" reading so I can keep trying to knock that out. We might get to Home City early enough on Thursday that I might be able to get in an hour of reading before bed, and maybe some reading Saturday morning.

I feel like, especially if I can get the food prepped, and carve out some time for my conference paper work, get up and work out MWF this week, that I can do this. I feel like I'm good at defeating the odds though. No one really thought I was getting into a Ph.D. program. I did. No one actually thought that I'd finish the diss (except Pixie Advisor and out of town advisors). I did. No one actually thought that I'd get any sort of job. I did. And no one thought that I'd get a better job than the one I had. I did. And since I'm also prone to feel that the world is against me, and that this is a challenge intended to weigh me down (look, I know how irrational that is--I don't actually believe there are forces conspiring against me), then I will persevere and not be beat down. I know the downside to this is that it shows that I'm competent and can do more, but at least now I can say, "no. I stepped up. I took a hit for the department already. And I did it very pregnant. It's someone else's turn. Give me my damn course release."

I know, I know. I feel like I've gone from one end of irrationality to the other, but at least one gets me to a place where I'm not sick and where I can take care of myself, do my job, and still get my work done.

AND I just got a CFP for a special topics issue of a journal that deals with some of the stuff that I'm working with in my conference paper, so I feel like this is the little glimmer of light and hope that the universe is giving me that's saying "let me help you kill two birds with one stone. You need one more article and for it to be well placed. The books all say to go for "special topics" issues as those generally have fewer submissions, therefore less competition. You just happen to be doing something similar you can tweak for the conference paper. You only have to work on one project right now until the baby gets here. This is your chance." Now, whether it gets accepted is a whole different animal; however, this is my best option right now at least for the path of least resistance. So I am feeling better about that. The deadline will be tight, but this is as important as anything else, right?

We'll see what's possible and how this plays out. But at least now I've gone from "I hate everything and everyone and my life is over for this quarter. I have no qualms about telling everyone to fuck off and don't care how that will affect my job. Fuck you all!!" to feeling that the biggest fuck you will actually be to succeed, still get my shit done (because sweet justice for me will be to make everyone else who can't get shit done without a course release look bad, and it's true, I'm passive aggressive like that). Whether that's actually positive or not or will actually help me (it will for tenure) remains to be seen. But right now, if I can pull all this shit off, then I will be a BAMF, and you all know how much I like being tough.

Plus, if I do pull this off, and get that article placed, then next year I'll have more time to enjoy the Magpie's first year, and I'll actually be able to focus on some CF training so I can compete next year, but first thing's first. Getting this stuff done.

If nothing else, at least I'm in a better place, ready to fight, rather than feeling beat down, shit upon, and hopeless. While it's true that I wanted an easy quarter to get shit done, it's also very true that I'm extremely competitive and I like to win, and that's how I have to view this right now. Eat right. Sleep well. Train hard. And then, then I won't have to put up with any bullshit from May 18th until December 4th.

I can do this.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Still Filled with Bitter, Seething Anger, But Trying Really Hard to Get Over It.

Let me state for the record, again, in case you missed the last post, that if Colleague were out because ze had cancer or a heart attack or a stroke or was in a terrible accident, I wouldn't be such and insufferable bitch about this. I would be more than willing to pull the extra weight because it would be the right thing to do.

And my apologies to those of you who may have struggled with addiction, but honestly, I have extremely little sympathy or regard in this case. I have a cousin who's an alcoholic and I see the way she has quite literally destroyed her family in abusing her children so horribly to the point that her children used her as a model and then became heroin and pill addicts. I've seen what she and three of her four children (one was smart enough to get the fuck out of dodge and join the army because it really was either that or get sucked into the same trap they were in) and she did to my poor cousin who worked so hard to keep his family together that the stress caused him to have a massive heart attack and none of them stepped up to his aid. I've seen the way my other cousin, also addicted to pills, nearly drained his family dry and treated them like shit all the while playing the victim. I admit that I am horribly judgmental in this regard. I fully admit it. But I make no apologies for it.

So yes, right now I hold my Colleague in bitter, seething contempt right now. And I'm pissed off that I have to sign hir "Get Well Soon" card. Fuck that. And fuck you.

At least my response to the stress at this point has moved from uncontrollable crying to laughter because what the fuck else can I do?

Here's the other thing that is filling me with hate about this. Because I had a MWF schedule, I, in good faith, made doctor's appointments and travel arrangements on these days so that I would not have to miss work and use my leave time for these things so that I could save as much as possible for the fall. I told my boss about these days, and that all of this stuff had been made in good faith so that I'd only have to miss one day of work. I am absolutely positively pissed the fuck off that I'm going to be charged for these days now, and will now lose FOUR fucking days of my leave time because of this! Four fucking days. So not only, for this additional class am I making HALF THE PAY of what I make per class (which is clearly not what my time is worth), this is now also going to COST me A WEEK'S WORTH OF PAY in the Fall. Because of this colleague, who didn't want to do an outpatient rehab thing or AA or NA or whatever the fuck, and needs to be at an in-house treatment facility only AN HOUR away, I am actually losing money now over two fucking quarters. FUCK YOU! I cannot find any love or compassion or goodwill in my heart at all right now.

I'm also tired of hearing how because I was productive last year, and even though I was promised my release, and every one else has gotten their release on schedule, that it was more important for D00D hired with me to get his because "he really needs it." Wait, so I'm being punished for being productive, and he's being rewarded for not having time to write because of our teaching load? Shouldn't I be the one rewarded because it's clear that I'll actually get some shit done? And a lot at that?  Yeah, if hear that one more fucking time this quarter, I'm going to punch someone. I NEED my release time too mother fuckers.

Yes, I am very, very, very bitter. I think there's a misunderstanding here that because I'm pregnant and now seen as a mother rather than a scholar, that I have a desire to take care of everything and everyone and should be self-sacrificing. No. I only want to take care of my own shit. If everyone else gets to take care of themselves, then why do I have to be a "team player" and and why am I the selfish one for wanting the same things? Wait. Yes, I have a vagina that has obviously been used to fill my reproductive mission here. Fuck that. Yeah, all the chair's and dean's appreciation in the world isn't going to get me tenure, so I don't really give a shit about your appreciation.

All of that being said, several of my colleagues are being really nice to me because of this and have offered to help with my classes if I need a sub or something, which is very kind of them, but which really doesn't actually help me because it's not like I can afford to lose even more time from my leave by not teaching, even if I do have someone willing to come in and take over for me. Yeah, it might get me an extra hour of sleep, but it's not going to do me any good in the long run, so really, I'm fucked there, too, in that I can't even really accept their very generous offers of help. It's nice to know though that my colleagues are taking this to heart for me, even though very few of them know the real reason why Colleague is gone for the quarter, so while I don't give a shit really about the gratitude of the chair or the dean, I appreciate that my colleagues care and feel for me.

Also, the other thing is that after class on Tuesday, it's clear, that even though this class is a century out of my field, I'm going to give the students a better class than the one they signed up for. We are in week three right now. They didn't have a syllabus. They had a book list and a list of assignments, like: 8 quizzes.  Research portfolio. Final paper. Critical Responses, and some percentages of what they were worth. No reading schedule. No due dates for anything. Nothing. They were like, "we get a syllabus? Really? You'll give us a schedule of assignments and due dates? Really?" Good lord. These poor kids. Several of them thanked me for teaching the class. One whom I had never met said she was glad that I was the one now teaching it. While I am bitter and angry and stressed, at the heart of the matter is that clearly, at least, I'm what's best for these students. Egotistical? Perhaps, but it's true. The collective sigh of relief and the look of relief on their faces nearly broke my heart. I will endure all of this shit for them. I feel bad because all four classes are going to get shafted a bit and not get my best, and I've apologized to most of them for that explaining that the shitty part of this is that they will be affected and it's not right, but I'll do my best.

I just wish I could relax and get over this. I'm trying. Really, that's why I'm ranting on here about it because I've got to vent somewhere (and it's not like I can really say all of these hateful things to my colleagues about Colleague), and I'm hoping by letting it out it won't fester because the fact of the matter is that I hate Colleague so much right now that I've been sick for the last three days, and I hate hir for making me sick because it's not good for me or the Magpie. I put a damper on my poor mom's bday because she said, "Oh, hey! This is your day off!" and I just cried for like 20 fucking minutes on the phone on her birthday. I hate Colleague even more for all of these things. But I'm trying hard to get over it for my own sake. And maybe if I can get everything done this week, get ahead this weekend, and sleep, then maybe by Monday I'll mellow out a bit.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Bitterness. Hatred.Anxiety. Stress.

Yes, those are some powerful words up there indeed. Ah, and just a few days ago, all was sunshine and rainbows and positive. I had a great schedule that looked like it was going to allow me to actually accomplish some mad shit before the Magpie gets here. I was cooking. I was getting rest. I had settled into a doable and helpful workout schedule again. I mean, I was starting to re-enjoy and re-see the benefits of my beloved CrossFit again.

And then yesterday, that all went to shit. To hell in a handbasket. To a place where all I saw flashing across my brain, Stir of Echoes style was "FML." A place where I've spent the last 13 hours of my waking moments in fucking tears. I am trying to remain calm for the sake of the Magpie. Because in all honesty, if I weren't fucking pregnant, then this would just be a crappy deal rather than the all out fucking tragedy I have running through my brain right now. Oh, before I go any further--we're okay. There's nothing wrong with me, Magpie, or the J. I'm sure my inclination toward melodrama might have had you somewhat worried.

So, as you know, this was supposed to be the quarter that I got my course release to make headway on my scholarship for tenure. I'm still in a pretty good position--34/50 MLA pages I need for tenure are in print. I have one article left to write. And the schedule that I HAD this quarter, with TR off would have allowed me to make significant headway  on the next article before the Magpie gets here. Not to mention the fact that I'm more exhausted than I ever imagined I could be in my life. Sometimes pregnancy is like mono. That my friends is all gone. And I'm fucking pissed off about it. My "compromise" for the boss "forgetting" that I was supposed to get a course release, and because I'm the ONLY ONE who can teach an American Poetry class (bullshit--it's not my field. It's so far out of my field it may as well be fucking math), unlike the other junior colleagues who got or are getting their course release, I didn't get one. The three day a week schedule was the "if you're not going to give me the course release I was promised, then I need this schedule to be able to get my shit done if you even care about me getting tenure." And I had a productive week last week.

While there are like four or five brit lit people, there are three Americanists now. I should note I'm the only untenured one. And the other is tenured but I don't think ze teaches a full load. And the other is grad chair, so ze doesn't teach a full load either.

And now we're down to two for the quarter. One has decided that ze needs to enter rehab right now. As in yesterday. And I don't want to be crass or anything, but I'd guess I'd go to rehab during the quarter too when I could take medical leave and get paid for being there rather than doing so over the summer. But fine, whatever. Good for hir. Go get healthy. Except...

Guess who is now the ONLY ONE who can teach hir classes?? Me! Of course! The other one can't because ze is old and has "medical problems" and it's not hir field, so sure, ask the untenured pregnant lady to do it, all the while seeming like she has a choice to turn it down (I did but said I would if other guy wouldn't because I care about whether the students get fucked over or not). Because yeah, I don't already have one course not in my field. Now I'm teaching a whole brand new course that's someone else's in Postmodernism! And seriously, since they're already pissed about my missing fall quarter for maternity leave, how really, exactly can I say no? Not taking the class would have most certainly hurt me in the long run; that would be a major mark against my collegiality: "Remember that time we needed her to step in for so and so and she wouldn't because she was "pregnant"?? Do we want to keep someone who clearly doesn't care about others, the students, or the good of the department?" But, if I can't work on my article, doing the class for sure ain't gonna help me get tenure either. So really, at this point, I'm totally fucked either way.

And worst of all--it's a goddamn fucking 2 hour TR class right in the middle of the goddamn day! 12-1:50! Are you fucking kidding me?? The worst possible class time ever! So now I have FOUR fucking classes--2 upper division, brand new preps not even in my field, and two fucking full survey classes--all four classes are filled to the brim. I have 120 students this quarter. One grad student working on a thesis set to defend and graduate this quarter as well. A conference in three weeks for which I'm not prepared for and now which is going to suck and come down to some last minute writing. And we're going out of town next weekend. Oh, yeah, and I'm over six months pregnant. I don't want to play that card, but it seems so wrong to saddle all of this shit on me in one quarter, while my MALE colleague, hired when I was, got the course release he was fucking promised and is all "I'm already done with my article I was working on!" Good for you.

Not to mention that since I had TR off, weeks ago I scheduled my travel plans and doctor's appointments on TR because I had those days off so I wouldn't have to use leave time. Now, I'm going to lose leave time because I have to now miss class for this stuff which means that there are now fewer days for which I'm going to be paid in the fall. And since I'm an now teaching FIVE days a week, there goes my "I only teach on MWF, please charge my leave according to that schedule" argument which means that instead of the entire quarter being paid for with leave time, I am now most likely looking at losing 4 weeks pay. So there really are any number of ways in which I'm am being screwed over this quarter.

I knew they were going to find a way to get me back for wanting to take fall off, and rather than exploring other options, both my boss and the dean knew that because I'm a decent person and I'm untenured that I'm not going to say "no."

Look, I know I probably sound like a piece of shit here for railing against the colleague who is now in rehab, and I probably sound incredibly selfish and bitchy, but you know, I had a lot of shit to do this quarter and was actually making some headway on it; things were looking really good. Last week I got more research done than I had all year, and now, I'm going to be lucky if I can find an hour a week to work on this conference paper, and forget getting anything else done.

And I know some of you teach four classes and get shit done and done well in fact, so I don't want to sound like a primadonna here, and I think if this were a semester, it might actually be easier--my MWF classes would at least be 50-60 minutes and the TR classes would be 75 minutes rather than 75 minutes x 3 on MWF and then 110 minutes on TR. It's fucking exhausting. Like everything that needed to get done, and was getting done just now got put on fucking hold, and like I said, I'm so stressed about this that just about every waking moment in the last 13-14 has been filled with tears. I cried myself to sleep. I woke up at 2 am crying.

This shit sucks.

Am I going to suck it up and do it? Yes. Will I just spend the entire quarter now crying about it in order to relieve my stress? Probably. Will the way that I view some of my colleagues now forever be tarnished? Unfortunately, yes. And are all of my students now going to suffer because of this because I now will only be able to do an adequate job across the board rather than a great job? Another unfortunate yes. Do I feel bad for my students? Yes. Do I feel bad for colleague's students? Most certainly. At least I'm getting paid (barely) for this. They're just getting fucked.

And I hate to say this because I know that addiction is legit, and yes, I'm glad that colleague is getting the treatment ze needs for hir sake and hir family--I feel for hir kids and spouse--but if it were something unplanned like a stroke, heart attack, or cancer or something like that, then I wouldn't be bitter at all. But really, I mean, ze couldn't find an AA meeting first? Or an outpatient type thing? No, ze must travel out of town for three months for an away program. Or am I just being a total fucking heartless bitch because I'm worried about how the stress of this is going to affect the Magpie, which I think is equally legit. Because it's not like the stress just affects me. I mean, every time I think about this I get a fucking cramp which really bothers me. So yes, we should all support colleague while ze gets healthy, but what about my fucking health at this point?

ETA: I forgot to mention the following:
  • Our a/c is broken, so I haven't slept in about three nights because it's been in the 70s, almost 80s, and it's really hot in here, although that guy is supposedly on his way now.
  • Our tenant/former roommate in Home City has neither paid us rent for three months, now pushing four, and hasn't  paid any of the utilities since November, a problem because they're all in the J's name because roommate has credit even shittier than ours and can't/won't put them in his name.
  • The Treasury department has jacked up the J's paycheck. We needed to repay the GI Bill from this summer when the J had to quit school after the quarter started because he got the full time job. So we were paying that back. The VA decided they changed their mind on the repayment plan and took it out of the paycheck and our tax return. It's paid in full, per the letter the department of the treasury sent,  but they are still deducting the money from the J's paycheck. No one was available at either the VA or the Treasury paycheck department to answer J's call yesterday. Which means until they get this straightened out, and the government is so prompt in refunding the money the owe (it took over four months for the J's paycheck to get straightened out when the fucked it up when he was in Afghanistan), we're losing $400/mo. here.
  • The J can't get a hold of the person who is working on our title issue for the house in Home City which, since the title company and the relator fucked up our title and sold us a house without a clean title, which they claimed was clean, we can't even sell the house until the title company fixes it. We've been dealing with this since July 2010. In light of our once formerly reliable roommate/tenant becoming completely unreliable, and in light of the fact that the mortgage on that house could be used to be paying shit off to get our credit back in order, it has become a priority to get rid of that fucking house, hence the urgency. Also, with the kid coming, I'm tired of being worried about that house. I want it to go away. And we won't be traveling as much or for extended periods or with the dogs to Home City anywhere near as often, so there's no need to keep that place any longer as our "home base."

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Spring Quarter Start

So the start of the quarter is going well so far this week. Last week I wasn't sure. I was stressed, exhausted, and ended up in tears by Sunday, several times, and then I cried all like Friday morning. And then there was this thing with the hotel for the J's banquet. Thursday was chewed up with a doctor's appointment and the obnoxiousness of what I assigned for the poetry class last Friday. By Sunday night, I was done and didn't want to ever leave my bed again.

However, I am happy to report that things that got better. I dragged myself out of bed at 4:30 in the morning to make the 5 am CrossFit class because I am determined to spend this part of the pregnancy healthier than the first. Things are starting to stiffen, and all the stuff that I keep reading, from swelling to hemorrhoids, can be prevented by regular exercise. And I tell you what, hemorrhoids frighten me more than labor does, actually. And I don't want cankles. So if this is the case, then well, I am determined to do something better for myself, safely, don't worry. Anyway, my point is, I'm sooooo glad that I made myself go. My long Monday was so much more bearable. I mean, 7:45-4:45 is a long day. Three classes, four hours of office hours. Long day. But I felt better because I worked out. I was exhausted, but it was a good exhaustion,  you know? So today, I dragged myself out of bed again at 4:30 am, and today was fine. I think it really helps me. Plus, it has tremendously helped my stress level. Now, duh, all this is a no brainer. I knew this, which is why I work out and why I would work out before class pre-pregnancy. But for some reason, I got it in my head that since I've been so exhausted that exercise would work against me in this condition. But, really, honestly, it's helped with everything. I sleep better. And don't worry, folks. I'm not acting a fool with the work outs. And yesterday I did some yoga. It was grand.

The other thing I think helping me, too, with this schedule, is having Tuesdays and Thursdays completely off. And it's not just the physical act of having T&TH off. But the psychological aspect of it as well. Knowing that I can sleep in, that I don't have to leave the house on TR, that I don't even have to shower, that makes a huge difference for me right now. I can get through the long ass day knowing that I don't have to do it all over again the next day. There's no way I could handle that right now. I'm very fortunate. Theoretically, TR are now reserved for research only, for getting my own shit done. I am willing to make one concession--if needed, I'll allow myself Tuesday mornings, only, to get stuff done for the poetry class if I can't finish it on the weekend or during the Monday office hours. Regardless, Thursdays are reserved for research and writing. And we'll see how that goes tomorrow. So right now, I feel pretty good here about what's going on with the schedule and the potential. It's already better right now than it was this time last quarter.

Helping right now as well is that my three classes are going really well for the first week. Generally I don't have this much enthusiasm this early. It takes 'em a while to get going. But today, all three classes went over time because they wouldn't stop talking and asking questions. I've NEVER had that happen to me before. It's exhausting as well, but in a great way.

Lest I jinx anything, right now at least, I feel good. Classes seem to be going well. I have the potential to actually get work done during this semester. I've been able to work out and cook this week. I have my reading list for my paper done and ready to go, so tomorrow morning I know exactly where to start. I'm very much looking forward to tomorrow's day of research and reading because it will be the first time since September that I've done anything scholarly, and I'm so ready to actually be doing something scholarly toward something scholarly.

Friday, March 1, 2013


So my boss is driving me crazy again. I have to wonder if a student who came to her about the same issue in her class would be met with such accommodation. And how did she get this far anyway.

Case 1--I'm failing a student for the class because zie cheated on hir final exam. Zie asked another student for help with hir take home final exam and other student said, "write this..." which Helpful Stu took right from hir own take home final exam for my class. And it wasn't just a sentence or two. Nearly 40% of the exam came back as being from Helpful Stu. My boss's reaction? "Did Stu know that they weren't supposed to get help on the exam?" Are you fucking kidding me?? So if this cheating had happened in class on the in-class final where students were collaborating and Stu said, "oh, I didn't know I wasn't supposed to get someone else to write my final for me" would you really buy that excuse? I mean honestly, since when is that a valid excuse? "I didn't know I wasn't supposed to get help with my exam." Especially when it's outlined in the syllabus what constitutes cheating, specifically getting someone to help/write your exam for you. Cheese and fucking rice.

Now, this next one, well, I don't know. It still has my panties in a wad. The last place I taught (and this is my fault for not checking here), a 64 and below was an F. I feel like I remember this being the case in grad school, too, although it may not have been, but it feels like this is the standard that I've been using for forever. So, I grade a 60 as an F. I believe when I go over grades, I address this in class, too. Now, if below 60 is an F, then one of two things needs to happen: I need to change it from now on and/or I need to go back and then readjust all the grades that I gave as a 60, using that as an F and make it then a 58 or a 55. However, my point about all of this is, if you fail, and I mean fail miserably (a 30, a 40, and a 57) three of your four exams, and you have an F on another assignment, which equals a total of 55% of your grades are failing grades and the rest are Cs, then you should a) not expect or even think that you might come out with a B in the class, and you should be worried that not only might a C not be in your future but that a D is unlikely, too. If you fail the major assignments, you are probably not passing the class. So now my "standards" are brought into question. And if a 60 is a D, then well, that "D" Stu made on hir assignment then should actually be a 55, because it wasn't passing. The other problem is that for some reason in my boss's eyes I'm unfair for not allowing the student to redo hir midterm exam (for which zie had a week to prepare) because zie didn't know that zie turned in only one part of it and didn't know that would affect hir grade. Well you know what? I don't know what to tell you. I'm sorry you waited until the morning it was due to write it. I'm sorry that you discovered the morning it was due that you don't have word on your computer (you're a senior for crying out loud--how did you make it this far without ever using word? How did you graduate HS without using word on a computer) and that this caused technical difficulties for you. I'm sorry that school was canceled that day (not that it mattered because it was due on-line whether there's school or not, which is the expectation across the board), and I'm sorry you turned the wrong thing in but didn't bother to remedy it until you found out you made a 30 for only doing part of the work, which again, you had a week on which to work on it. I'm sorry that this is going to screw up your graduation plans. But you know what, you probably should have been more careful to pass your exams if you expected to graduate. You failed over half the class.

But here's the real rub. The grade percentages are listed on the syllabus. Not that hard to figure out. 8th grade math. And in a school that's based on engineering and math, if you can't do percents, then seriously, I don't know how you can be an engineer. Furthermore, I go over, with examples, after I give the midterms back, how to calculate the grades. It's not hard. My boss? "I don't know. Using percentages is really confusing. I can't even figure out what your grading system is." REally? You can't figure out what 90% (ooops, sorry, percentages!) what nearly everyone in the department does? You can't figure out, as the chair, how to calculate something worth 10% of the grade? And you're the one in charge??

To recap--I'm
  • not up to standards by using a grading scale that is "unusual."
  • unfair for failing a student who might not have known it was cheating not only to get someone to help hir write hir take home final for hir but to turn in nearly half of another Stu's final as hir own.
  • unfair because I penalized another Stu for only doing half the exam and for doing it poorly at that.
  • unfair because I failed (same) Stu who though zie was going to pass even though Stu failed over half the assignments in the class, spectacularly. 
I so can't wait for May. If I can make it to May, then I don't have to deal with any of this shit again until December. 

ETA: However, the upshot to all of this is that it serves as a reminder that if I either want to get tenure so I don't have to stress about issues like this or want to be mobile (or rather I know the odds of being mobile, but I can do things to increase my chances), then I need to get those articles written and out. And really more for the sake of tenure so I can say to my boss, "well, whatever. It's my policy. It's in the syllabus. I'm sorry Stu doesn't pay attention. Bite me."