Monday, November 23, 2009

One Hundred Hugs

E LOVES to get dressed up...he said he looked like a "man."

e, showing off her face paint last weekend.

E at Tae-Kwon-Do practice

I measured E again this weekend, and he's grow another almost two inches in the last three months. He is six years old and one month and is four feet two inches tall. e has also grown over the past few months but has not hit her big growth spurts yet. Still, she is tall for her age. I am raising a couple of giants.

Saturday mornings are the one time we can sleep in. The kids often end up in my bed at some point during the night anyway, so we get to do a little cuddling in the morning, instead of me trying to get them out of bed and ready for school. This past Saturday, E came in to snuggle with me and decided to give me a hundred hugs. So sweet. When we got to about 50, I asked if the hugs came with kisses...and, they did! So, fifty more hugs with kisses. I need to figure out how to bottle that sweetness so I can pour it on him when he turns 13.

Saturday afternoon I took E and e along with a couple of the neighborhood girls to a local playground. Usually, this playground gets a pretty good clientele, but there were these two women there with their kids who were clearly from the other side of the tracks. When we got there, I kept hearing one of them yelling at her son, calling him a liar, and just barking orders at him. The two moms just sat on the bench while their kids (I think there were a total of four of them) played.

At one point the two girls (C & M, who are in fourth grade) that I brought were going on one of the slides and one of the woman's daughter, we'll call the daughter PB (because she had a plumber's butt), kept telling the other kids not to follow her. C & M, of course just told her that they just wanted to go on the slide. When I saw that there were some problems brewing, I went over and quietly told C, M and E to go on the bigger slides which were better anyway. I could tell that, as I was going over there to talk to them, the mom gave me a really dirty look. She obviously thought I was going to say something to her kid...and obviously she has to defend her kid often! So, C, M and E went onto the bigger slides. A little while later, PB decided to go on the bigger slides, too. She blocked the entrance to the slide and it was clear from the looks on all the kids faces that something was going on. So, I went over and asked if everything was okay. PB said yes and I told all the kids that the slides were for everyone to use. PB went down the slide and the others followed but didn't want to go on the slide anymore now that PB was there. That's when PB's mom comes over to me and tells me that she would appreciate it if I wouldn't tell her daughter what to do. I was a little confused so I told her that I didn't tell her what to do when the mom says that PB told her that I told her to get off the slide. So I told the mom what really happened, but it was clear there was no trying to rationalize with this woman. So, she said, "well, just don't talk to my daughter again." Okay, I won't talk to your daughter anymore.

WTF? At that point, I told all the kids that it was time to leave because we didn't want to stay where there were mean people. It was clear that PB was telling stories the whole time we were there. At one point, she was pointing to e and saying to her mom that e did something. Come on! What is a three year old going to do? The kids were constantly lying, using bad words, and just not playing well. The moms were encouraging the bad behavior, so it just wasn't worth staying around and watching a bad situation get worse.

THEN, Sunday afternoon I was in a store trying to buy some holiday gifts. I was at the end of an aisle and another woman was going towards me. Both of our carts didn't fit well, so (since were were just about a foot from the end of the aisle) I said that it might be easier if she moved back (into the open area). She said she was going in my direction, so I said okay and we continued to maneuver our carts until we could pass each other. That's when her daughter (probably around 18 years old or so) says "that was totally rude!" Again, WTF? Is it the holidays that bring out these crazies? Am I wearing some kind of label on my forehead that says if you're crazy, come interact with me? I always feel like saying something like "Merry fu*%ing Christmas to you, too" to them.....but I think I might get decked.

I will take one hundred hugs any day.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Meeting

So, I met with the President of the University yesterday. Since I only had a half hour with him, I knew many of my points would either not be made, or lost since it was was so hurried. I put together a five page letter that outlined the reasons why he should not go with the Committee's recommendation not to grant my Sabbatical.

Two of my main arguments were that there are no examples of successful petitions available to look at. When I went up for tenure, there were several examples of successful tenure packages in the library. I could look at them as a guide to give me an idea of how much information to include in my package. There are no such guides when it comes to letters requesting Sabbatical. But, I felt my strongest argument was the fact that the Committee's reasons for turning me down had nothing to do with what is listed in the Faculty Handbook as reasons to grant Sabbatical. Their reasons all focused on wanting more detail about why I chose Australia. In the Faculty Handbook, there is no reference to the fact that I need to justify the location I choose.

I still think it was an inside job and I have a pretty good feeling who led the charge against me. I am not at all confident that he will go against the Committee, though. I just don't think he has the spine, even though I tried to give him plenty of easy outs in my letter. I have a strong feeling I'm going to have to file a grievance on this one. I still may not be successful, but I think I need to scream loudly on this one...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Ready For The Good

My new backsplash

I think it's true that bad luck comes in threes. My first bit of bad luck is still a little personal to discuss here, but number two and three came quickly thereafter. The Faculty Personnel Committee denied my petition for a sabbatical for the Spring of 2011. This REALLY pissed me off because they did not deny it for concrete reasons like we don't have the money, or we can't cover the classes while I'm gone. They said there was not enough information in it. So why the f#@k didn't they ask for more information!? They wanted more information on the research that I will be doing, why I chose Australia, and why this location helps with internationalism. Okay, isn't the answer to that last question fairly obvious? And I did tell them what research I'd be doing and why I chose Australia. All legitimate reasons. But, even if it wasn't enough information, why wouldn't they just come back and ask for more? That just really pisses me off. So, now I have a plan to meet with the President of the University. The Personnel Committee just makes a recommendation to him. Of course, he's never overturned their recommendations, but I'm hoping there's a first for everything. His decision is final. If he doesn't overturn it, I plan to file a grievance. This is so trivial, yet it could lead to such dissatisfaction on my part.

Number three....E got a little rash on his head last turned out to be a fungus. So, I just put some antifungal cream on it and it was gone overnight. I broke out in a rash on my back and side at the same time. So, I figured it was the same fungus and treated it the same. Only mine got worse. I finally went to the doctor yesterday who confirmed I have shingles. If you've never had it before, I hope you never do! It feels like a constant jellyfish sting...itchy and stingy pain at the same time. She gave me some medication to help control it and some vicadin for the pain...apparently, I just have to let it run it's course since there is no cure.

I'm ready for more GOOD news!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Proud Mom

e and E at Homecoming

E and e for Halloween. E was a ninja and e was an angel...but also a goldfish for trick-or-treating.

I met with E's teacher yesterday to get his grades. Academically, he is doing outstanding! He got A's in 15 of 17 categories. In kindergarten, A's mean "Advanced." There were a couple areas where he needed work, but even between the time the report card was filled out and I met with his teacher, one of those other categories had been mastered. I was SO proud of him! When we got home last night, I gave him a very serious look and told him that I needed to speak to him. I told him that I had met with his teacher to see how he was doing. E looks at me and he says with a big smile "I did goooood." I laughed and told him he didn't just to good, he did GREAT! So, I gave him $5 to put in his piggy bank and told him he could go anywhere he wanted for dinner the next night. So, tonight we are going out for Japanese. He wanted to pay with his $5 but I insisted he put it in his bank.

While we were at the mall last night, e said she wanted to get her ears pierced. So, off we went! She hardly flinched when they put the earrings in. I just hope she keeps them in! They really look adorable. E said he wanted to get his ear pierced, too, but I told him he can do it when he turns 18. It sounds like a double standard, probably, to him...and very hard to explain why he can't get his pierced when e can. Of course, there are also other boys his age and younger who have their ears pierced which makes it even more difficult to explain. Hopefully, he'll get past this one quickly!