Monday, August 31, 2015

If if if

IF the seller of the house that we by all rights should have been inhabiting for two weeks now is NOT in the psychiatric ward of the hospital on Wednesday, we will have a place to live.

I am out of hoping energy.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Opening Activities at a 4/4 SLAC and at a 2/2 R1: The First in a Series

At Kalamazoo this year, Notorious Ph.D. asked me if I would blog about the transition from a tiny, cash-strapped, midwestern SLAC with a 4/4 load to a big East Coast R1 with a 2/2. I suspect that there will be a lot to say, so, to distract myself from the ever-changing, endlessly bizarre situation that is the Mihi Family Housing Crisis, I will write about one of them.

Difference No. 1: Gearing up for the new year.

At Field College, this is what happens in the week leading up to a new Fall semester:
  • Wednesday before classes start: mandatory day-long faculty retreat.
  • Thursday: half-day faculty retreat/faculty meeting (which is attended by all full-time faculty).
  • Friday: all-campus (faculty and staff) meeting, at which everyone is introduced to everyone else. This is entirely useless, because either you pretty much know who everyone is, or you don't know anyone, suffer from total information overload, and don't remember a thing. After the meeting is the (equally pointless, in my view) Benefits Fair, at which you collect free toothbrushes and whatnot.
  • Saturday: students move in; we're invited to help them. I have only known one professor who has ever done so. Because: syllabi.
  • Sunday: if you're lucky enough to be teaching a First-Year Seminar, you have your first class meeting this afternoon.
  • Monday: if you advise a student organization, you have a mandatory ice cream social to attend. If you teach First-Year Seminar, you have a two-hour community service project to complete, followed by a picnic. You may also have your second class meeting this afternoon (this has fluctuated in recent years).
  • Tuesday: mandatory (and usually rather nice) opening convocation. Big picnic lunch with all the new students. Advising meetings all afternoon.
  • Wednesday: classes start.
At New U:
  • ...
  • ...
  • ...
  • Classes start! After labor day!
As a new faculty member, I have things to do--orientations and whatnot, which I'm eager to attend (I need information!). Perhaps more senior folk have meetings, but if they do, I haven't heard about them.

There are a lot of factors at work in this distinction. Little colleges like Field need heavy faculty governance and involvement; faculty do all of the advising and need to be apprised of changes in marketing strategies, athletic recruitment, accreditation visits, new requirements for Education majors, and all kinds of things that you wouldn't think that you'd need to know about. They're also expected to be very involved with individual students; the personal connection is, after all, what Field (and a lot of schools like it) sell, and what makes them different from the local State U's. That involvement, incidentally, is what I enjoyed the most at Field, and I hope that I can cultivate some of it at New U (admittedly in a different register).

But now, my primary directive is research. And good lord, I need to get settled in a house and in my office so that I can do some.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Things Aren't Looking Up

But at least we're in New State.

In a hotel.

With two cats and a three-year-old.


Saturday, August 22, 2015

Holding Pattern

That's the nice way to put it.

Other ways of expressing our current state would be limbo, suspense, empty void of unknowing, and purgatory.

We're at my mother's house--still. The plan was to leave Field State on the 28th, after closing (check!), go to visit friends in Northern City for 2 days (done!), take a two-day visit to Northern Beach (yep!), then drive out to Mom's for about 3 weeks, with a break in the middle to go to New State and then to In-Laws' to pick up the cats. (New State--visited! Benefits package received! Cats--collected!) And then, we were to close on our new house on the 18th and move in and be sort of mostly unpacked by now.

Well! That didn't happen. Maybe it'll happen on Monday. Maybe it won't. WHO KNOWS????

Here's what happened:

We got a call on the morning of Monday, the 17th--right about the time that I was thinking, Hooray! We move tomorrow! No more living out of a suitcase! Etc.!

It was our realtor.

The seller hadn't opened the doors for the moving company that morning. Eventually, the police were called. It turned out that she had attempted suicide and was in the hospital.

That's one for the books, eh?


Anyway, she has physically recovered and was discharged on Thursday, with plans to move out on Saturday so that we can move in on Monday, even though we might not be able to close until Tuesday (apparently there's a legal way for that to work out). However, she wasn't returning her lawyer's calls yesterday, so who knows whether she'll authorize the movers to come in today?

I am expending all of my hopeful, anxious thinking today wishing her well, hoping that she is safe and able to move forward--and out. And also thinking, Oh my God I have classes to prep! Books to locate and unpack! Meetings next week! And Bonaventure's school is about to start! WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DOOOOO?????

Foo. Fleeing the state was all too easy, wasn't it.