Saturday, July 24, 2010

home again

I finally made it home to my amazing mattress (I've missed it so!) and fabulous new shower, courtesy of Partner's bathroom remodeling skills. I'll overlook the fact that for now we're still using the basement toilet - it will be worth it.

And of course the return means an immediate jump into all the things that need to be accomplished State-side. Or even just things that required reliable internet access, and therefore had to wait until now. Convenient that the Scientiae Carnival is requesting status updates and future directions this month, because I feel that a list would be useful.

Current Events:

- Roof. We have a recurring leak that was apparently not dealt with completely last year, when we had some repairs completed. I need to immediately become the person who harasses roofers and waits around for them to show up.

- Bathroom remodel. While Partner made amazing progress and got rid of all the debris, there will be floor tiling and drywall hanging to finish, plus toilet/sink installation and final details/painting (eventually!).

- Yard work. Today I weeded the worst of the waist-high weeds that had taken over our sidewalk while Partner worked 60-hour weeks and tried to build me a functional bathroom. I can't blame him, he just had too much going on. But now our house hopefully looks less like an abandoned lot. I would really like to finish removing stone borders from our gardens, since I just can't keep them weeded. I finished about 1/10th of this job in June.

- Prep. One of my courses is a repeat of something that went pretty well the first time, but the second one is a freshman class that I've never taught before. I'm not even really sure how to approach it yet. I need to figure that out, soon.

- Vacation. I need something, even if it's just a weekend. We might try to get away to a yet undetermined location in early August.

- Wedding prep. While we have all the venue details and guest issues finalized, we have yet to acquire wedding clothes or rings. We need to get organized!

For the Fall:

- Manuscript. I now have TWO papers in press for 2010, so I'm in good shape for the short term, but I really need to get the statistics finished for a paper I've been planning for two years now. I started this in the field, but of course nothing ever gets finished in the field.

- GRANT! This is the year of Large External Grant Application. I need to get an NSF submitted, and after this summer's field work I finally feel ready to do that. Feeling ready and writing the grant, however, are two different things.

- Future Scheduling. This fall I'm going to need to request my junior leave, which means I need to figure out what I'm doing for junior leave. I might apply for a fellowship to live in Foreign Country and do some research there related to my summer project, but I also need a backup plan. I also am considering directing a study abroad program in a different foreign country, where I actually know the language fairly well and spent some time as an undergrad. I would like to do it, but I'm not sure that it's the best idea to be gone for a semester before I go up for tenure; I would have some students from SLAC, but not all of them would be directly related to my institution.

- Get married. Somewhere in the middle of all of the above.

Year three is starting soon, and I can't believe that I've been here that long. Time flies when you have no free time, I guess. I'm starting to feel that I'll finally have some time for non-teaching things, maybe even a chance to fix the parts of my courses that need some help. I'm sure this will not actually be the case if I'm trying to write grants and fellowship applications, but at least I might have time to do that writing. I think I'm settled in, feeling centered. Knowing what to expect, to some extent.

I think some of this is related to our financial situation, which has finally settled into something resembling what I would consider stability. We have some savings, we're no longer living month to month, and this month we PAID OFF my student loan. That event by itself made me feel a little bit more like an adult. We've come a long way from our first few months in Small Town, when we were timing our purchase of those things you need in a new house, like trash cans, because our finances were so tight. It's taken me this long to stop feeling like an impoverished graduate student, though by rights we've been doing pretty well for the last year or so.

In short, I have new confidence in where I am and where I'm going. I think I'm making good tenure progress, I think I'm finally ready to dive in to my new research project abroad, I'm not worried about finances. I think the next few years will be exciting, and I'm looking forward to them.

1 comment:

T said...

Not the basement toilet. Oh, goodness, not the basement toilet. You know how badly that freaks me out. Sometimes I'm so glad I'm not a homeowner!