As if academom had willed it, I had one of those days where my worlds clashed. It’s like that Seinfeld episode where George’s world with his friends is about to meet up with his world with his fiancee. I’m checking my son’s homework this morning and find a note from his teacher that says he hasn’t been doing his homework. Instant guilt. I find my son, begin giving him a stern talking to. He breaks down, misses the bus and I have to drive him to school which makes me slightly late for work. I bring this guilt and anger (a little) to work with me.
At work, I e-mail the teacher, apologize profusely for my slacker son (and his slacker parents) and promise we’ll do better. I manage to put all of that aside and do real work until I’m sidetracked by a talkative co-worker. Post-lunch, life gets bad when I find out because of a programming glitch, several people have dropped out of Blackboard. I spend time manually adding them back in and dinging the programmer. I don’t understand the programming and feel powerless–akin to the way I felt in response to the teacher’s letter.
Flash forward a little, I’m plugging away again, getting ready to read some blogs and post something in my professional blog when I am dragged into the lab because a woman’s life work has been erased. (The lab I maintain is a video lab and nothing is supposed to be removed without my permission.) We spend hours trying to recover the files–no luck. We will have to import over 100 clips again.
I go home defeated, thinking I should just have been a stay at home mom, so that I could make sure my son does his homework and I wouldn’t have to deal with all of this stuff. Sigh. Do men have these tensions? It’s not like I was angst-ridden all day about the homework thing, but it was there nagging at me. I know in my heart of hearts, I would not be satisfied staying at home, but I think about it. It’s very tempting on days like these.
I’ve accomplished a few things from my list, though others don’t look like they’re going to happen–oh well. I managed to purchase a scanner and successfully scanned in one of my old poems with Abbyy FineReader (included with the scanner). I have version 5 here, but I have 7 at work, which is sooo much nicer. I did a quick search for some free or cheap OCR programs and there’s not much out there. I’m guessing that OCR is pretty hard to do, so not many people are going to take it on as an open source project. I might have to bite the bullet and upgrade. Sigh. I will be scanning some pictures here shortly–to go with the poems. I think this will be a fun project. My poems have never been published. Frankly, they’re not good enough. They’re better than poems that might show up in Ladies Home Journal, but they’re not Missouri Review material. But I’m attached to them for a myriad of sentimental reasons. They represent a slice of my life from college through graduate school. I’m thinking only a handful will make it.
I also managed to do a little writing–3 pages. No planting, no laundry. Oh well, there’s always the weekend.
Today, I skipped work. In my former life as an adjunct professor, I usually taught on Tuesdays and Thursdays and I used Fridays to learn new things–mostly new technical things. I wish I could reinstitute this policy. I am sometimes able to do this at work, but not always. Because the phone rings, the e-mail comes in–someone needs me for something. And that’s one difference between working a regular, 9-to-5 job vs. being in the academy. Oh, I know there are committee meetings, students at your door, letters of recommendation, etc. I’m married to a professor, so I know. But if you want to hide at your house one day a week, you can. Your time is your own to decide how to fill. You decide when the students can come visit (office hours) or when you’ll write that letter. Committee meetings, faculty meetings, okay, but these are far less frequent than my phone calls–believe me.
So today I’m taking my life back. I’m really feeling pretty good about this. I’ve been gradually, over the past year, taking my life back. I jumped from the professor track to an I-don’t-know-what track and am really starting to make it the Laura track. So here’s the plan for the day:
- Work on the novel–writing, not reading. I’m on page 87. I’m hoping to be to 100 by the end of the weekend.
- Pull out the poetry again. My poetry is not so great, but it’s mine and I’m thinking I want to work on posting it online in some sort of multimedia form.
- Buy a scanner. I need to scan pictures for the above project.
- Plant flowers. As I said, I’m not much into Mom/Housewife stuff, but I feel compelled to keep up just a little. Plus, I like looking at flowers.
- Take housewarming gift to friend. Much belated.
- Laundry–but I might wait until tomorrow. 🙂
Not a bad list. We’ll see how it goes.
I’m coming off a week of training students in Web Design and Multimedia–five days, 8 hours a day. They’re an interesting group of students, all with different talents and ideas. Although it is really intense to be helping seven students at once with a wide variety of questions–how do you do a rollover and what is a motion tween anyway–it’s neat to see their progress.
To give you an idea of the kinds of things I do–with school out and all–here’s what transpired today. I assigned a student to teach a professor how to edit video using iMovie; I helped a staff member scan a document to send to alums; I helped another staff member edit a web page and re-post it. Then I copied a DVD–homemade–for another professor. I also listened to 20 progress reports on the projects the above students were working on. All coming along–course it’s only been a week.
Once things settle down a bit–next week–I hope to have some meatier musings.