Thursday, January 28, 2016

Something positive in the current shitstorm

Some positive news:

The hubs starts a new job in one month that is a half hour commute from home.

That's less than half the commute he has now.

It also puts him in the same battalion as the unit in our town which means that getting a job five minutes from home is now the closest it's ever been the entire time we've been here. It still might be a year or so away, but it is infinitely easier to move within the battalion than it is between battalions.

At the very least, regardless of what happens in the next couple of years, childcare issues got significantly better.

Small victory.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Calgon, take me the fuck away!!

So I have been alerted to the fact that my tenure bid is basically in jeopardy now because I missed three of four classes last week.

Even though I am not out much (honestly, not any more than any body else here--seriously, people miss entire weeks in the quarter, and sometimes more than one week), seriously I missed last Tuesday, but continued one of the classes on-line which is what we are supposed to do, so technically the students didn't miss the lecture or discussion, had modified office hours on Wednesday and brought the kid with me so I could come to work, met with one class on Thursday, had modified office hours last week week--but STILL MADE MY OFFICE HOURS mind you, and today I have to take the kid to the doctor again because now she's not walking (WTF??!!) and will miss only the last 45 minutes of my office hours, and WILL NOT miss class, and this has been deemed unacceptable.

I have been told that I need to hire a nanny in addition to paying for daycare.

Yeah, that's feasible.

Am I behind in my work? No.

Are my students missing information and being short changed? No.

Am I a week behind in my classes? No.

Am I even a day behind in my classes? No.

Have I missed any meetings? No.

Have I still showed up at functions? Yes.

So please, someone for the love of god, tell me how I'm not doing my job here?

And I'd like to point out, too, like I don't already feel like a giant fucking failure of a wife/mother/human/friend/professor as it is. How much of a loser can I fucking be if I can't even keep my kid well? My reputation is already tainted because of the grad class last quarter. I feel like I'm in a whole out of which it is going to be impossible to dig. This is not how my last year before tenure was supposed to look. But it does look like this. I guess I just move forward from here.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016


My schedule for the spring? Rather than teaching for 3 hours and 45 minutes, with a 15 minute break every 75 minutes three days a week, I am now teaching near FIVE FUCKING HOURS on Mondays and Wednesdays, putting me on campus from 8:30 in the goddamn morning until 4 pm in the afternoon AND teaching 2.5 hours on Fridays. Not even in the fucking ballpark of what I asked for.

Can I complain the quarter before I go up for tenure? No. Will I get the relief I was hoping for next quarter? No. Did my boss base her decision on knowing that my parents will be in town. Yes. Which is none of her fucking business whether my parents are in or not. Did she take into consideration at all what I was asking for and why? No.

I am so upset that I am shaking. Literally fucking shaking.

And if she fucking expects me to then show up on Tuesdays and Thursdays just for shits and giggles, she's out of her goddamn mind.

Monday, January 25, 2016

I hate to admit that I find myself increasingly disgruntled with my job, and I don't like feeling that way at all. First, so you can see what I'm dealing with, here are some snippets of convos with my boss on how to be more productive:

Work Scenario 1:
Boss: So are you able to get work done after Magpie goes to bed?
Me: Yes, sometimes I am able to depending on how easily she goes to bed and if it's right away.
Boss: Well,  you know you shouldn't work at night because it interrupts melatonin  production, so that's not a good idea to work after she goes to sleep. You should find another time to try to get work done.

Work Scenario 2:
Boss: Have you tried working in the morning?
Me: Yes, I like to get up and work before Magpie gets up.
Boss: Well, you know you shouldn't wake up early for that because you don't need to be short changing your sleep to get work done because sleep is important and if you don't have sleep then you can't think clearly and that might affect your work. You should try to find another time to get work done.

Work Scenario 3:
Boss: You really should try to get work done in your office.
Me: Okay.
Boss: But when you're here working, you need to make sure that you spend part of your time going around the building and talking to people.
Me: Okay.
Boss: So you should probably come up here when you don't have class or office hours and do some work. But keep your door closed so that people know you are working, but make sure that when you're here, you're at least spending part of your time here letting people know you're here and working and make sure you socialize while you're up here. So maybe you should try to get some work done after Magpie goes to sleep.

I can't keep having these conversations with my boss. It stresses me out. Sometimes I can just let it roll, but when it comes on top of other conflicting shit like (No, no, the work you have will count towards tenure to the next day, we should talk about your work; I'm not sure it will count...)Seriously. But even if I say, "It's okay, I do okay working at night," boss replies with: "NO, studies show that you should not work at night." Me: "I understand, but I'm okay. I usually read rather than computer work. REally, I do what I can when I can." Boss: "But that's not the best idea." Me: "Thank you for your concern."


From the grapevine: "You know Maude, Boss says that every time ze asks you about your work you get defensive."

Recently I've also been told that if I want to make tenure, that I need to also just keep my mouth shut because I don't want to upset anyone who might be on my committee. However, keeping my mouth shut in meetings looks like I don't care about anything, even though I've been told that I should.

I just don't feel like I can win at this point.

I have a couple of on-line students who I feel like are going to just tank my evals because I simply don't understand that the essays I'm asking them to write are different than their other classes and I need to understand what their discipline requires. No. Plus, the network keeps shutting down, so it's hard to have an on-line class when the medium for the class isn't working.

I just am done. I feel like, and I know this sounds paranoid, but I feel like I'm being set up. Like the extra meetings are to create paper trails to be used against me. Like I've never once had any complaints about the work loads in my classes, and I've changed very little in terms of work load in the five years that I've been here, but now the work load and how I teach has become a concern although "don't worry about it. Look, she how good your evals are??!! But you might want to change the way you do things." So what do I do with that? It really is hard for me to not seethe with anger sometimes. It just feels like all of a sudden everything I've been doing is wrong and I'm only just now being told this (nothing has ever come up in my yearly evaluations).

I know the best thing to do is be the best at this job that I can be. Better than the best and get my work done. But I feel demoralized. I'm depressed. I feel like people are distancing themselves "just in case" I don't get tenured next year. Perhaps much of it is in my head. My boss however is creating an environment for me that is conducive to that paranoia. And it all just feels icky and hokey and it's hard for me to function that way.

Also, I was told that I should not let anyone know if I may be stressed or depressed or if I'm having a bad day I need to smile for everyone and pretend like things are super great all the time because it's best if people see me smiling all the time.

In short, I hear: Always smile. Keep your mouth shut. Do what we tell you. Be better. Under no circumstances have a bad day.

Ugh. Or am I being paranoid?

I fully intend on knocking out stuff by May. Actually by March. I know I'll feel better if I just get stuff done.

And I know things will get better now that our schedule will get a bit back to normal. Flood duty is over. The parents will be back in town for a bit. At least for about six weeks we should be able to catch up on sleep and eat some healthy food and recover from the illnesses and get back to a work out program and everything else. Fingers crossed.

ETA: Oh, wait, here's another good one--
Boss: So what are you working on?
Boss: Are you sure it's going to be peer reviewed?
(Me--in my head--No. They are going to let random people from a Pre-K math program look over this work because the press has decided that the direction they are going to go in has nothing to do with reputation or scholarship. Absolutely no one in the field will review this, and the editors are janitors, but they're pretty sure one of those janitors is Will Hunting, so it's cool. It's legit).

ARGHHHH! I feel like Charlie Brown trying to kick the damn football.

Friday, January 22, 2016

We are now headed into week 3 of the husband being gone--he leaves at 4:30 am and doesn't get home until about 8:30-9 at night. This is very taxing. On the both of us. The rumor is that this should be over by Sunday, but we heard that last Sunday, so I'm not holding my breath. And today he is supposed to be able to leave after lunch, but seriously, that could still put him home at like 4:00.

The Magpie was out of school basically all last week. Sick. She had bronchitis, but RSV was going around her room, and one of her little mates was in the hospital with it. Now a couple have sinus infections. We'll see how long I can keep her well.

The bronchitis treatment involved round the clock breathing treatments. I could space them out at night depending on how much she was coughing to six hours, but she goes to be at 6:30, so generally that meant going in at 8:00 to do a breathing treatment and then again at 2:30am to do another one. I know, you might be asking, well, why didn't you do one at 6 and then at midnight so you didn't have to wake her up twice? Because 1) she was sleeping until 8 in the morning, and the risk of pushing the treatment 8 hours early one increased the risk of her chances of her getting RSV or pneumonia. 2) during the day, because she got up at 8, I was very strict about keeping the treatment to every 4 hours especially since one of her mates was in the hospital. So the way that the timing worked out, it was best to do a 2-2:30 am treatment in case she slept in. Nebulizers are loud. Very loud. Once she got used to them in the daytime, at night, even though I had it outside the door, it still woke her up. Then she would be frightened and upset at being woken up and screech for the duration of the treatment. Sometimes it was after 3 before she fell asleep again, and then the husband's alarm was going off by 4 am. Between illness and stress, before Wednesday night, I had only gotten 2 full nights of uninterrupted sleep in the last SIX WEEKS! Which explains why the weight won't budge. Why I'm behind on my work. Why I'm super depressed. I did not get a full night last night because of the dog. What's wrong with him? Nothing. He had gas and kept farting and it freaked him out. Seriously. And I'm not a very kind person to him when I want sleep and he wakes me up.

I've tried to deal as little with my boss during this ordeal. Boss is a micromanager of the worst degree. As a person--lovely. As a boss, and I've said this before--abysmal. The expectation is that in the event of missing class for illness or whatever, we continue the class on-line. We give and assignment, we post a forum for discussion, assign a paper, whatever so that we don't have to look for subs and we can keep the course on track. That's the department and university expectation. I did this. Boss: Are you going to grade the assignments you posted? (Are you kidding??) Boss: You've missed 1/10 of the quarter already. If you're going to keep missing, you need to find a substitute. Boss: You're sure your husband can't miss his national guard duties to help you out (Uh, he's been working 18 days in a row. He'd so rather be home with a sick kid so I could go to work). Boss: Why aren't your parents back in town yet? (Because my dad just had surgery, and it's an 8-10 hour drive!) Boss: why can't you push the treatments back? Why can't you just go to the daycare and do it during her naptime? Why can't you tell your 2:00 class that you're going to go give your daughter medicine and that you'll be back by 3 and just tell them to wait?

I'm a 40 year old woman! Let me do my job and tend to my family!

To my students' credit, all of them (but seriously one on-line student, the one who told me that he guesses that my "critique" of his paper was "valid." Seriously dude? "I'm a business major and that's not how we do things in my business classes." Me: "Yeah, well, this is an English class and I have different expectations." Anyway...) have been fine with the schedule hiccups. Like any of them are going to be like, "I don't give a shit about your kid. I want to be in class!"

Our diligence with the breathing treatments paid off. Lungs completely healed. No secondary infections. Because it's a steroid, we can't just quit them, so for the next few days we're down to one treatment in the morning, one before bed. Whew.

In any case, I had made some headway last week until my freaking internet went out Sunday morning. Had that not happened, I would have gotten caught up before the holiday, and I'd not be in the position I'm in now and even further behind. And because it was just me, I couldn't go anywhere else to work because the kid's not going to sit in Starbucks or my office for an hour or two while I work. At least at home I can tend to her, work, take a break, work while she's napping, etc. Then Monday was chewed up waiting for the internet people. I've spent most of the week crying. The house is a mess. I've got to get to the grocery. I'm exhausted. And I've got a stupid meeting this afternoon that is going to be just a PITA, most especially because I could be at the grocery or putting clothes away or cleaning the kitchen, whatever. On top of this, I'm fighting my own cold that I know won't go away until I can relieve some stress and sleep.

Anyway, I guess what I'm going to do now is try to bang out some work here before the kid gets up. I've got a short window of time to do things today, and I'm going to work out. And I have a massage therapy appointment this morning, too. I'm just exhausted and behind.

I hope, I mean, I really really hope that the schedule that I asked for for next quarter works out. I hope it leaves me less exhausted than I am now. I hope it gives me more time to work and take care of household things. I've only got about a month left--five weeks really--of this quarter. My goal for this weekend is to get the on-line class finished. I mean, get all the notes for the stories up, the quizzes done, everything. So that way all I have to do is grade and look at the forum posts for like a half hour a day or something. That's the goal.

So I am going to get to work.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

There are a few things that I need to be doing right now. But yet I sit here and stress about things over which I have no control.

Like a sick kid. And an anxious dog. And the lack of sleep that comes with these two things.

I need to get the dog to the vet (even though he just spent two weeks there over break) to make sure there's not something wrong. We thought the dental visit would fix the nighttime anxiety. No. We thought fixing the running toilet would fix the nighttime anxiety. It did. One night. We thought leaving the door open for access to his water would fix it. Nope. And it could be as something as simple as he is feeding off our stress, mine in particular, and that makes him anxious. But to the vet he will go after payday.

One of the problems with my depression and anxiety is that when I'm feeling bad, I tend to shop and spend money trying to make myself feel better. I have not had control over our money since before my birthday, and that is causing even more stress and anxiety, so I've got to get my shit together there.

One of the things I'm really struggling with, and have been since we had the kid especially, is what I want my life to look like, and how to make that work with the life I have. And I really struggle with getting caught in the fantasy of the ideal not fitting reality, and that contributes to my anxiety and depression because I feel like every time I get started on something, I get totally derailed. But that is the nature of life, no? I guess my problem is not that I don't know how to do things, it's just that I'm not good at rolling with the punches. In the face of adversity lately I'm more like, "oh, this isn't perfect and ideal. It's not fair. I quit." And that attitude will not get me tenure. But there's got to be room for health and fitness, cooking, writing, reading, teaching, and family (not in order of importance). Because really, let's face it. There's not going to be a time in the near future when the kid isn't sick. She is going to get sick. She continues to get sick. I'm attempting today to bring her to my office hours before her doctor's appointment. We'll see how that goes, but at least I can show my face on campus, and she can run up and down the hallway or something. I don't know.

At some point, I'm just going to have to do the work, ideal or not.

I think I also waste a lot of time. I'm going to have to log my time I think for a few days to get a better idea of exactly what I'm doing with my time (like, how much time am I really spending on social media. I feel like it's a lot of unproductive time).

Oh, and I just got an email saying that the book chapter that I was supposed to write for the collection that was going to perhaps get cancelled is now moving forward, so that's great!

Anyway, I feel like I have a lot to say, but like I'm not saying much at all, so I'll end here. I've got some more thinking and stuff to do and some working stuff out, but I guess I should get on with my day.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

More wrenches

As the kid is making signs of awakening, I think, I thought I'd get a quick post in because I don't think I have enough time to work through another essay in its entirety before she fully awakes.

It turns out now that the hubs will be able to come home every night even though he has to leave at like 4:15 in the morning for the next week. Our new issue however is a sick toddler with a fever who can't go to school and I with no babysitter will be staying home with her since the hubs is not an option this week to help out. My intent was to get up with him and start working, but I slept through all of that (I guess I needed it). I've gotten some work done this morning for my classes, but not nearly enough. There is so much to do this week that being tethered to the house with a sick toddler is not the most ideal of situations here. Most of me is grateful for the cuddle time with her. However, it does get to be exhausting being the sole caregiver (I have no idea how single parents do it and stay sane) when there is a mound of work to be done and deadlines to be met. If I can manage to get decent sleep, I'll be okay.

The essays I'm grading are taking far longer than they should for some reason, Perhaps it's because it's the on-line class and I know most of them can't just pop into my office, so I've got to spend more time on the comments. Much of my grading time was sucked up this morning by doing things for the classes on-line so we don't get behind because pushing things back isn't an option since I did that once last week when I was really sick.

I repeat: I can do this. I can do this. I can do this.

Monday, January 11, 2016

The Best Laid Plans and the Wrenches in Them

Well, okay. I have a quick couple of minutes here.

I've gotten through some of the work that needs to be done, at least related to my classes. The hubs has been called up for flood duty with the Guard, and well, he's now gone indefinitely, so it's just me and the Magpie. I don't know how I'm going to be able to handle this on my own. I guess the blessing is the on-line class which work heavy as it is, it does not require me to be on campus those extra four hours a week which frees up time to get other things done that I won't be able to do during the weekend because it will be just me and the kid, for possibly three weeks. It might not be that long, but it very well could be until the end of the month.

I am, however, regardless of what it means for grading, for my office hours, whatever, I am going to work out this week though. It actually means I'll be late to my office hours tomorrow and Thursday because I can't work out until I drop the kid off at daycare, but honestly, I feel like the only way I'm going to get everything done and not lose my $hit is to actually work out. I contemplated not going today and just trying to finish grading. But I feel like I'm going to spend all afternoon grading anyway, so I think both mentally and physically I will benefit more from working out rather than not working out.

I didn't get the stuff done that needed to get done during my office hours because I was chatting with a colleague, and one who feels I'm distant and defensive and who will be on my committee, so I need to rebuild that relationship. Campaigning is exhausting. But, regardless, I think that things will go so much more smoothly for me in terms of stress and sanity if I get the work outs in this week, especially since I won't be able to work out at all this weekend. The kid doesn't really like going to crossfit if she has to sit still. It's a big place; she likes to run around, and well, that's not safe if I'm working out.

I will just keep saying: I can do this. I can do this. I can do this. If I can work out and get sleep, I can do this. And even if those things don't happen, I can still do this.

Friday, January 8, 2016

I feel like I owe you all an apology for the horrendous amount of negativity I spewed out on Tuesday.

I've been able to get some rest this week and have been able to start getting caught up with my classes, so I'm feeling better. And actually allowing myself to be sad on Wednesday and even cry a little bit helped a lot with getting some of that stress out. And venting on here on Tuesday helped, too. Also, I figured out what was keeping the dog up at night and keeping us from sleeping, so I've gotten a couple of night's sleep now, too. First time in a month actually that I've gotten two nights of sleep and one of those nights was totally uninterrupted! That makes a difference.

I have been thinking a lot since my outburst on here on Tuesday. I know the funk I've been in since the academic year started has a lot to do with stress and exhaustion. I have been completely unorganized since August. I have been gaining weight since last April. I just feel that for the last two years things have not gone right, and the more I dwell on what should have been vs. where I actually am, the angrier and more stressed out I become, and it's an endless cycle of things that shouldn't be.

I am filled with a lot of anger, and it's really starting to take its toll. I don't like what is happening to me mentally, emotionally, and physically.

I've been inspired by Heu Mihi's recent posts. And whether she knows it or not, she's long been an inspiration and model for me, since like 2006? 2007? when I first started blogging.

What I need is a serious John Cena sized Attitude Adjustment, and I need to get over my sourness and bitterness. Because maybe it's not that this isn't how it was supposed to go, but maybe this is exactly where I'm supposed to be at this moment. I can't for the life of me figure out why though--how I've ended up in what I deem a shitty situation here--exhausted, depressed, struggling with mom weight and a lack of activity and sleep, and totally stressed out and behind on my publications and totally freaking out about tenure. I don't like the "everything happens for a reason" bullshit, and I'm not saying that here at all. What I'm trying to do is figure out a way to deal with my grumpiness and stress and be productive and not continue to hate all the things. Because friends, I've noticed that the one word I keep repeating over and over and over again in my life right now is the word hate. That is not healthy.

This is where I am. How do I move forward from here? I would say "Just survive winter quarter," but I don't want to just "survive." That's what I did last quarter, and I feel worse off than I did at the beginning of that quarter.

I've not done anything that's made me happy in almost 8 weeks now friends. I haven't done any work on any scholarship. I haven't worked out (like maybe 8 times, and six of those times was during Thanksgiving break when we were off, so since my birthday, once). This week was the first week in seriously like 8 weeks (so since before Thanksgiving) that I've actually cooked all week and haven't ordered take out or eaten out once. I totally disappeared on Top Left Quadrant.

The goals I set last year at this time? I met not a single one.


That is the story of my life, and at 40, that's starting to weigh me down.

I didn't want to be here at 40, but I am. I have to work from there. It  has me extremely depressed, to tell you the truth.

Today, I am going to knock out some more work to get caught up in my classes. The on-line class is waiting for stuff from me. The upper division class is waiting for stuff. My goal for today, at least, is to get that stuff done or nearly done so it's not hanging over my head all weekend. The goal for this weekend is to clean and be done with it, though that's an overwhelming task on its own. However, I haven't even unpacked from when we got home Saturday night.

The kid is up. So have a good weekend all.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

A post in which I have nothing positive to say

I haven't blogged in a while, and I hate for my first post back to be filled with such negativity, but it will be. I hate to admit that I'm having an exceptionally rough time right now and that I'm filled with anger and spite and hatred, really, about just about everything.

I'm in a place right now where, for the first time since I've been here, I hate my job. I have become somewhat miserable, and I think it's affecting my work, which then you know everything is cyclical, and I go up for tenure in October (so I have 10 months to get everything done and I'm feeling the pressure, and I don't do well under pressure). And I haven't really bitched about my students here since I've been here, but I'm going to now.

Our latest batch of grad students suck. I mean horribly. One thing that bothered me was that not only did they complain about reading a novel a week (which I pretty much do in all of my upper division/grad classes), but the chair and the grad chair agreed! One novel a week for grad students taking one class is TOO MUCH! WTF?? I did less work for the on-line class than I did for the in person class, and they complained about the workload! A novel a week, a seminar paper that was only 15 pages, and four two page writing assignments that were UNRESEARCHED! One was creative, and a gimme! And a three page assignment that required a minimal amount of research. And everyone agreed across the board that the workload was pretty much unreasonable (though the professor whose course on which I modeled my on-line course did NOT get the same complaints). Curious. Hmmmm. This has left a sour taste in my mouth which a) I need to get over and b) move on from, but I'm just so I don't know. Not even angry really. I just feel totally betrayed by the students and my colleagues to be honest. Whatever.

Here's kind of the bitch of this--one of the students is someone who works out where I work out. Since this class has ended, I've noticed that people have been giving me the cold shoulder. I mean, how fucked up is that? This is what a small town is like. I mean seriously, fuck everyone.

I've been sick. I've been stressed out. And my colleagues now have taken my stress and not feeling well personally. This has me very stressed out since I go up for tenure next year. I feel like there's blood in the water, so to speak. My boss has suggested that I do damage control now, which is exhausting. So my office hours are now not designated for any sort of work for me. No, I have to use my office hours to go be social and do rounds (her words). I've also been told that my co-advisor for the honor society is taking all the credit for the work WE do. Look, I'm not good at politicking, and I'm not tolerant of bullshit either. I don't know how to promote myself without looking defensive or conniving. So I just feel sort of stuck. And a large, very large part of me wants to leave this place, and I feel like that attitude just oozes out despite my best efforts to hide how miserable I am right now.

On top of all of this, I have spent hours, days, weeks, and months cleaning and organizing and I have absolutely nothing to show for it. The house is an utter fucking pigsty. We were gone the whole of break, so jack shit got done. On top of that we all got sick--the other two are over their illnesses. Mine is still lingering. We've been to the doctor. I'm on a second round of antibiotics. I've gotten maybe four full nights of sleep in the last 2.5 weeks, which I know is contributing to this as well, and is probably keeping me from shaking what I have because this thing is keeping me awake.

I've been battling some serious depression here for the last six weeks or so, so that's not helping.

On top of all of this, there was an editorial board change for one of the projects I was working on, and they've pretty much have decided that they're not going to honor the contract that was in place before the change, but they'll think about it (it does not sound promising at all), so that puts even more pressure on me because that would have been out by the time I put my tenure portfolio together, so yeah.

I am, at this point, way behind on everything. I'm so far behind already this quarter that I'm not even sure that I'll be able to catch up. Seriously. And my schedule is now killing me. It was a great schedule when my parents were here and in charge of picking up and dropping off the kid at daycare. But now, no, this schedule no longer works for me, and this has upset my boss. Furthermore, it bothers her that I do not like to take a break between classes. I like to teach back to back. Just because she doesn't shouldn't fucking matter. I'm not some stupid little girl who is teaching her first quarter here. Ugh. Treat me like a fucking adult please. I am doing my best to balance my responsibilities at work with a toddler and trying my best to make sure I do not miss work and am not seen as "that" mother-colleague. So just leave me alone, please, and don't try to assume what's best for me and my family.

My new eyeglass prescription is making me sick, so I have to spend a whole day tomorrow dealing with that which will push me further behind.

Also, I hate, I mean HATE teaching on-line classes. Never again.

I will try to adjust my attitude. I promise. If I don't, it will very likely affect my job, so I've got to sincerely work on that.

That is all. That's quite enough negativity as it is.