Monday, January 25, 2010

Disenchantment

I think I have a four or five year limit on a job before I get bored. Actually, I think it's more like two years. I've been at my current university for almost seven years and am becoming more and more disenchanted with the way decisions are made. Most things happen at a snail's pace, which is typical for a university. Everyone needs to have their say on every little detail. If this were a corporation, we would have fallen into bankruptcy ages ago. It seems that people at the top need to take more authority rather than letting people argue for five months over how one particular sentence should read. It's just inane. Then there are other decisions which are just made off the fly without any research. It just doesn't make sense.

My department hired a new Dean a couple years ago. No one thinks she does a very good job. Everyone seems to like her as a person, but there are a bunch of things lacking.

So, as things build up, I begin to lose motivation to really go out of my way around here. I am beginning to understand why people start to become more detached after tenure. It is not because they are lazy (although that is true quite often), but it is often because there is a feeling of lack of power....the feeling that no matter what I do, it's not really going to make that much of a difference, so why do it at all. Seems I can focus my energies on consulting and other things to make more money.

I have to also say that I've never really loved academia. I came back to the university life from the corporate world so that I could have a flexible lifestyle - which I thought was very important as a single parent. So, I left the big paycheck behind. I don't regret it, but also one of the reasons why I chose this university was because they did not have huge publishing requirements (I really do not enjoy the publishing process) and I could keep my fingers in the corporate pie. A lot of universities frown on professors doing a lot of consulting on the side. This one encourages it. Of course, you can only do so much since the primary goals are to teach and do research. There is only so much time in a day.

I have no plans to leave this place anytime soon. I live about a mile away from my office, and the kids' schools are within that mile, too. It's also a wonderful environment in which to raise them. Since we are in the middle of nowhere, there are not a lot of drugs and gangs and such to worry about. So, all that is really good. The academic lifestyle is also good. I don't think my job is very difficult, although it is very busy during the semester. I still have lots of time to spend with the kids and focus on what is important. I get to travel a lot with the kids which I think is also important. This summer, we will spend a month or two in Italy...I'm hoping to make that a regular thing. I'm sure they'll become fluent in Italian far before I do.

So, I'm just feeling like things aren't going anywhere here. I've already built a great entrepreneurship program for the University, received several grants totaling in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, and just got a $1M donation from someone to help build the program...it is hoped that that million will turn into several million over the next few years so that they can give me a chair. I just feel like I do and do and do and don't get a whole lot back. I think that's just the way of academia. The possibility of doing more consulting on the side is looking more and more attractive. I will be attempting to pursue more of that in the future.
video
I took the kids skiing for the first time this weekend. Saturday, they went tube sledding and had an absolutely blast. e was on the young side to go down, but I knew that once she went down the hill once, she'd want to go again and again...they both LOVED it. Yesterday, we played hooky from Sunday school and went back to the resort to go skiing. The kids did great. E still needs to master his snowplow a little better, but by the end of their one hour lesson, e was going down no problem. She was able to stop and even turn by the end of the day. I'll try putting her a little higher on the hill so she can practice her turns some more next time! I picked E's donor because of his athletic abilities (and my lack thereof), but it looks like e is going to be my athletic one and E is going to be my brainiac. Still not a bad combination!

Oh, and poor e is having growing pains. I read up on it and apparently doctors don't know what causes them. They are worse on days when the child is more active and the pain only occurs at night. All very descriptive of what e is experiencing. As soon as we lie down, she wants me to massage her legs. Then she starts crying because she hurts so much. Saturday night she woke up twice during the night crying. I've been giving her some Tylenol with does the trick, but I hate to see her in such pain! Poor baby. It's tough growing up!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Just Yuck...

e looking a little diva-ish!

E and e at E's school holiday party -- the Gingerbread man came for a visit!

A little warning that there might be a little TMI ahead....

When I told people that I was going to have children on my own, so many told me that it would be a very difficult road. So far, I haven't found it very difficult. Sure, there are definitely tough times, but for the most part, it's a joy a minute. However, I would say the absolute hardest part about being a single parent is when *I* get sick. Taking care of the kids when they are not feeling well is easy, although sometimes physically or mentally exhausting. But when I'm sick and I can't even keep up with them, it is definitely difficult.

One of the joys of motherhood is when the kids get stomach viruses. Oh joy. So, New Year's day, we went over to a neighbor's house for pork and sauerkraut (this is a new concept to me since I grew up in CT). Both E and e had a great time playing over there. About 5:00 rolls around and e jumps into my lap saying that she has a belly ache. I thought she was just tired since she was playing pretty hard with the other kids. So, I just held her for awhile and tried to get her to go to sleep. After about fifteen minutes or so, she starts crying that her stomach was really hurting. So, I took the kids home, rubbed her belly, and told her to rest for a bit. About an hour later she runs to the bathroom and throws up. Thank goodness e is pretty good about getting to the toilet when she has to get sick. Most of the time she makes it. Poor thing continued to throw up until about 2:00 in the morning. Most of the time she made it to the bathroom. While she was sleeping, of course, she didn't. I put lots of towels down on my bed so she wouldn't get it all over. Yuck. Poor thing must have thrown up a dozen times before her stomach settled down.

Vomit is one of the most disgusting things to clean up because it really smells awful. I remember one time when the kids were younger when I had a stomach virus. In the middle of the night, I was praying to the porcelain god, laid back down in bed with the kids, and ten minutes later, E threw up on my head. Not the nicest thing to deal with after being sick myself. Finally cleaned up most of that, but was very thankful the cleaning lady was coming the next morning. I'm not sure she was so happy to be there! The good thing is that when the kids are little, their vomit isn't too bad. Mostly cottage cheese since they drink so much milk. Still, it's pretty gross.

But, as they get older and eat more variety in the solid foods, it gets really disgusting. Well, the bug that e had must have had a 48 hour incubation period because last night when we got home from having dinner with some friends, E started to complain about his stomach hurting. Now, E is quite the prima donna when it comes to ailments. With the smallest cut or scrape comes lots of moaning and groaning. I think it is part of the male dna to complain and complain about ailments. So, when he started to complain about his stomach hurting, I didn't think a whole lot about it, but in the back of my mind I was hoping he didn't have the same thing e had. I rubbed his belly and told him to go to bed and try to go to sleep. An hour later, he wakes himself up by vomiting all over. e wakes up and starts crying because she wants me to hold her, E has puke all over the place. I get all his blankets in the wash, get him in the shower, clean up the floor as best I can. Meanwhile, e is still screaming....E gets washed up, then it starts coming out the other end. I figure he's about empty by now! He throws up one more time in the sink. I was just happy that his didn't last as long as e's....and that he didn't throw up on my head this time. He felt fine this morning and went to school. I'm going to give it another 48 hours and hope that I don't get it next!

Ah, the joys of motherhood.

On a lighter note, the kids had a great Christmas. One of my friends takes the kids to the dollar store every year, so they can pick up something for me. It's so sweet. So, this year, E got a bowl of seashells for me and a bag of decorative glass pieces. e got a small ball for me, and also a bag of decorative glass. They were so excited to see me open the presents they had bought for me. E also had some time to shop at school. I gave him $20 to shop in the school store for presents for e and me...with a little extra money if he wanted to buy something for himself or anyone else. He bought me a fabric rose, a plastic ring (which also had a rose in it), a little blue heart crystal (faux) paper weight, and a plastic cross necklace. Bless his heart! Even though I would never wear a cross, I did wear it under my clothes one day because it was so sweet of him to buy it for me. I doubt they had any Star of Davids! He bought a sippy cup for e and a couple gifts for himself. He was so excited about all the gifts that they were opened as soon as he brought them home. I hope he always has this excitement for giving!