Tuesday, October 21, 2014

RIP our beloved Chester: March 15, 1999 - October 20, 2014. We will always miss you.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Ten Months, Many Changes

It's been over ten months since I've written up here. Since then, we've gone through a pretty major renovation of our lives. We left Large State Capital after 7 years for a new job in Very Similar Large State Capital (VSLSC), in a different state, so I can work at Large Flagship University (LFU) helping to run a research center that studies college students. I love the new job thus far. While we were reluctant to even consider moving to a new destination at this point in our lives, the move has been quite worth the experience. Moose is settling into a new school very well, and Wife and I are adjusting to our new digs just fine.

Speaking of the new digs, the house itself (Chesterley III) is about half the age of Chesterley II, and yet it's already been renovated in terms of its kitchen, HVAC, carpet, and many fixtures in the bathrooms. Overall it's a great place that we hope to stay many years. Pictures forthcoming. In addition the place has a really swell garden and an irrigation system; already we're de-stressing in the garden and plan to keep it just as beautiful as it was when we first saw it.

Bad news is that our beloved Chester is not doing very well. He's reached the grand old age of 15 1/2, so he's lived a long life. He's slowing down and is no longer eating regularly. It's only a matter of time, I suppose, and it's really alright. I'll be very sad when he goes - after all we've had him in our family longer than our own son, so life will be very different without him. I don't look forward to that adjustment one bit.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Insulation and Offices

Maybe I'll turn this into a blog on house renovations after all? I dunno yet. 

Tomorrow morning we're having insulation blown into our attic. Said Attic currently has the original 1965 insulation that is now only 5" thick. We need 14-15" total to be up to the proper magical R-value of 38 which apparently will keep us warm in the winter and cool in the summer. This makes sense, seeing that it in the winter it's about 2-3 degrees colder on the second floor as compared with the first. Heat rises, so yes, we've been heating Said Attic for the last six years. Sigh. Time to get that under control. 

And now back to the long-disputed issue of my Office-Prison. It's no longer really a prison unless I'm burning the midnight oil on a work-related project, seeing that I never do any research or writing of my own (and that's a whole other blog post, or five), but I do still struggle with keeping it uncluttered. I really do prefer things to be neat and orderly, but I've had a few years of work priorities and have lost the habit in the office. Well, one thing I will say I've gotten under control in 2013 is filing paperwork. The problem is filing (or tossing) the paperwork from several years prior to 2013 that now sits in piles in the Office-Prison's Closet Floor or in several boxes stored in Said Closet. 

Problem for tomorrow's renovation: The only access to Said Attic is through a trap door in the ceiling of, you guessed it, Said Closet. So I need to pull out the contents of Said Closet this evening and completely screw up any sense of organization I've had in the Office-Prison.

I should set a goal of purging all the crap instead of shoving it back into Said Closet after the insulation installation (say that five times) is complete. Call it a New Year's Resolution, if you will. 


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Closing Out 2013

Here I am about six months after the last post, preparing to close out the year 2013. Tough to believe it was almost nine years ago that I started this blog. I find myself in a writing mood today for the first time in a long time. 

This semester was one of the craziest for me in a long time. The faculty fellowship has gone slowly for me - wish I had more time to spend on it. The teaching experience was great fun - again, wish I had more time to spend on it. 

The job situation is identical, albeit probably a bit more tolerable than it's been in the past. Maybe I'm just getting accustomed to the new environment in spite of the same old, same old. I can't really complain - I have a job where I enjoy the work, most of the people, and the salary isn't bad. Well, I guess my viewpoint on salary has changed quite a bit this semester given I've had three jobs. Money isn't as much a worry, though I now have absolutely no time. Not sure which is worse...no money or no time? If I could earn the same amount in just one job, that'd be ideal. Fat chance, Rob. Yeah, I know. 

But seriously folks, I do have to focus on the fact that I enjoy the work and I'm employed in my field. That, in itself, seems like a fairly major feat these days, so I'm pleased about that much. For now. 

Well, Merry Christmas to one and all, especially to the 2-3 people who may actually read this in the next three years. haha


Saturday, July 06, 2013

Where things stand

Life post-dissertation has been interesting to say the least. I'm not using the word "interesting" as a code word for "bad." I do find things fascinating these days. 

I'm ready to move on from my current position, that's for certain. I do enjoy the work itself, but I'm ready either to do this sort of work in a different venue or PERHAPS make a major switch. I'm not really leaning toward the major-switch thing, I must admit. The thought of starting over in my early 40s isn't something I would choose to do at this point in my career/life. I think I am looking for an opportunity in which the venue where I work is more Important. The current venue, as is, isn't really cutting it for me. 

In the past couple of years I have applied for three jobs and been a finalist for two. The third was a big stretch for me into a different area, and I wasn't really expecting to progress very far, so that was no surprise. One of the jobs for which I was a finalist is similar to what I'm doing now, and the other would have been quite different. Neither ended up panning out, and for various reasons that's been OK. Both would have been major increases in pay, and not getting those has been UNGOOD. I hate to be focused on money, but it seems odd still to be struggling financially after having all this education and experience. Right? Tell me I'm right, please! 

Anyway, the funny thing is that the longer I stay in this job, the more opportunities seem to be opening up that I can do on the side that really interest me. First, teaching: I have been teaching one course per year in the higher ed program at LMUU for the past four years or so, and they have "promoted" me to official adjunct assistant professor status. I don't think it means much other than an acknowledgement that they will re-hire me as long as I'm available and as long as their situation with professors doesn't change. That's pretty cool. I'm picking up a second course this fall. Both classes are required classes for the master's program, so that's a really neat experience. 

I also picked up a faculty fellowship for the academic year to do a qualitative data analysis project with some really great colleagues. I'm excited for this opportunity. Could lead to something else here or there, like an article or perhaps another position with these folks. Ya never know. 

So yes, this fall I will have two additional jobs aside from my full-time one. They will help pay the bills, but more important the experiences should be quite rich. Funny how sometimes staying where you are brings about other opportunities on the side, at times. 

And maybe these are just clues of where my career will lead next...

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Blog Purpose?

I have lost my penchant for keeping up this public diary. In some ways I miss it since it's really the only writing outlet I have now (at least, the only outlet where I have complete control over the content). In other ways I don't really give a rat's ass. My life isn't that exciting, honestly.

Anyway, if I do get back into keeping up with this blog, what will the purpose be? For five years it was about my dissertation. Since then, two years later and it's just been hit or miss. It's been more about my "thrilling" life than anything else. I guess that's alright. Boring, though.

At one point I thought this was going to be a way to chronicle home renovations on our mid-Century traditional house that we bought from the 1965 original owners. However, renovations have been few and far between lately...at least the ones anyone will ever see. I mean, we have a new furnace! We had to get a new basement floor put in after the furnace installers messed up the old floor. Stuff like that. Big friggin deal. The bigger stuff requires extra cash or actual skill on doing things oneself. I have neither. The avocado-green kitchen floor remains in its 1974 grooviness (it's one of the few non-original things in this house). And my life keeps on being pretty boring.

So, I dunno if I'll continue this blog. Maybe I'll shut it down, though it'd be a shame to lose almost eight years of a chronicle of my (boring) life. Maybe I'll be inspired by a whole new theme. Isn't this nice? Or perhaps I'll be inspired to add new content by the coming of the new year.

And maybe not.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Education

I started this post last week but haven't had the energy to finish it till now.

From Thursday 11/1/2012:
If you heard a large SPLAT today, it was likely the sound of my heart breaking once again for our child. Nine years ago we started a 529 savings account specifically for his college education. We figured it was the smart thing to do at the time, and we were fortunate to have a gift from my grandmother to start off a nice account for him. We find ourselves several years later coming to terms with the fact that we have no need to save for his college education. He's not going. Ever. It's done. Over.

Here are a few data points to demonstrate that I am not selling my son short with the words in the preceding paragraph: He is 11 years old. He does not have the knowledge, skill or ability to pass kindergarten this year. He had three years of preschool that ended in 2007. He had a half-year of a self-contained kindergarten where he was the most compliant, quiet kid in the class and yet learned absolutely nothing. That was five years ago. 

Since then, thanks to intensive ABA therapy, he has made a great deal of progress toward gaining independence, but none of these newer skills relate to any scholastic goals beyond age 3. He can feed himself, bring his plate to the sink, brush his teeth, go to the bathroom independently (about 92% of the time), and can respond to simple yes/no questions. He understands most of what we say, and fortunately he's just about the kindest, most honest, most patient person you'll ever meet. We're thankful for the therapy; almost lost that in a medical review by our insurance company, but fortunately they granted us the funding for another six months. Better soak up that therapy real well there, Buddy, at least till next April. No worries, we'll just cash out the 529 and use that money to pay for a few more months worth of therapy...

Suffice it to say formal education is just one more dream we're simply needing to delete from our minds. Easier said than done. I have a Ph.D. in college, for God's sake, and my own kid won't complete high school. It's a very different view of the world, for certain. 

Office/Prison/Life Cleaning

Oh, hello there blog.

Lately I've been diving into a thorough cleaning of the office/prison. This time I'm serious. I've really not been organized in this space in about 7-8 years. Funny thing is that I've only lived in this house for five. Yes, I literally packed a few boxes of unfiled/unpurged CRAP and moved it here to this house, and they have sat in the large closet this small bedroom is fortunate to have ever since. And, since then more unfiled/unpurged crap has accumulated in the room itself. I don't bother cleaning it because I'd have to clean it up in order for it to be cleaned. If you don't understand that last sentence, then you are probably a cleaner/neater person than I.

What's funny is that my brain prefers things to be organized. For some reason, however, I'm perfectly fine living among crap. Until now. Now I'm serious.

I've found all sorts of things, including bills going back five years (in the "shred me" box now) and even other things going back further ... I'm cleaning out old files in file cabinets so the crap I actually need to keep now can have a place to be filed. It's a vicious cycle...not filing because my file cabinets are too full. Sort of embarrassing, actually. So why the hell am I sharing this up here?

I suppose I'm starting to clean up my life just a bit as well. Work has become a pretty big burden more than something I enjoy, unfortunately. It's probably going to be time to make a change pretty soon. It's been five years, after all, and I never made a change when I finished the Ph.D. Something about that bugs me. A lot. So I plan for a change to happen in the next year. Not sure what or where, but something's gotta change. I'm even meeting with a career counselor next week to help with the whole thing. Should be a good move...far better move than just sitting on my ass in my unfiled crap.