Wednesday, March 23, 2011

ASECS 2011: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

The annual meeting of the American Society of Eighteenth-Century Studies was held in Vancouver this year, and I made the very, very long trek across the world to attend and present at a roundtable. This is *the* premiere conference in my field and a good chance to see and be seen by the People that Matter in the profession. In rare occasion, my former advisor was also attending, and I hadn't seen her since my defense last April. I got very lucky early on because I was able to upgrade my economy seat on the international flight to business class--yay! So, champagne, cappuccinos, and cheese plates for me :) Easy flight over, 3-hour layover in Houston, then a 5-hour flight to Vancouver. By the time I got there, my neck hurt to the touch from sitting in the same position for so long.

Thursday morning, it was on. That is to say that this is the first conference where I've been "on"--busy chatting, having coffee, attending panels, meeting people, networking, etc.--from the time I hit the lobby until the time I hit the bed. I did a bit of shopping to get some Easter stuff for the girls and a bottle of wine for my hotel room. Then I hit the conference panels. The first panel I went to was one closely related to my dissertation area, and one of the panelists was the editor of the journal to which I'd submitted my first article in mid-October. I went with the hope that I might introduce myself afterward, and it would jog her memory that I was still waiting for an accept or reject decision from the journal. No go, as the panel ran over time. Then, I ran into my advisor early on, and we chatted for a while...very good to catch up with her. Turns out, she's friends with Journal Editor and she was her external tenure review person (small world people). So, we loitered about for a bit, and sure enough, Journal Editor appeared. My advisor introduced us, we exchanged hellos, and she announced that she had to run and tend to a family phone call.

Upon her return, she told me she'd made a call to her assistant editor and was able to give me The Good News: ACCEPTED!! Yes, indeed, I now have two publications forthcoming --woohoo! I was giddy, my advisor was proud, and I got to spend a good deal of time talking to the editor about her work, which was instrumental in my dissertation, and the general state of the job market, etc. I also got to meet several other important people in the field while we "held court" in the center of the lobby. As nervous as I was, I was also ecstatic.

That evening, my advisor, two other graduate student colleagues, and myself had a lovely tapas dinner to celebrate my good news and catch up with each other's lives and work. And I went to bed that evening completely exhausted. Not that this mattered, because my presentation was at 8:00 the next morning--ugh!

Presentation went fine, but my neck pain was still lingering. I'd been treating it with Aleve, hoping it would go away. It didn't. Since the doctor's offices were closed, I was advised to just go to the ER across the street from the hotel. Long story short, they examined me, realized my pain was legitimate, etc. The Bad News: they gave me an extremely painful shot of steroids and a shot of morphine! I immediately burst into tears after the first shot (seriously the most painful shot I've ever gotten, and I've had 3 epidurals!), then the morphine kicked in, and I got dizzy, nauseas, sweaty, and my heart was racing. I'd never had morhpine before, and it wasn't sitting well with me. Oh, and by the way, I was supposed to meet with the editors of the essay collection where my first publication was accepted in like 30 minutes! Soon, I settled back down to something like a loopy version of myself, got my prescriptions, and headed to the meeting, not realizing I had a spot of blood on my shirt and I was still wearing a hospital band on my wrist!!

For the next 20 minutes or so, I was fine...just a bit dazed. But, I managed to keep it together. By the time some colleagues and I went upstairs to the Delaware Press cash bar, where I simply drank ice water, I could feel my tumbly getting rumbly. I barely had time for The Ugly: making it to the ladies room, where I could only open and close the door before I spewed everywhere. Classy, I know.

Being optimistic, I thought this would pass. I immediately felt better, and we were off to a fancy restaurant in downtown Vancouver. Shortly after the five of us ordered the pricey Chef's Tasting Menu, I had to hit the ladies room again, though this time I made it to the toilet. This eating/vomiting cycle continued approximately three times throughout dinner. Each time, I'd feel better and think it was the last time, and each time, I'd be wrong. I didn't want to ruin everyone else's night, and they wouldn't think of letting me go back to the hotel alone. So, I just prayed for it to be over with soon.

After dinner, which managed to still be fantastic despite the vomiting after every other course, I took a cab to a pharmacy, filled my prescriptions, and nursed my upset tummy in the hotel room. The next day was my day to head back to Doha, and almost nothing went as planned. Let's just say that (almost) everything that could wrong, did go wrong. I stopped counting the number of hours I'd travelled, and I eventually got home around 1:00 a.m. Monday. I slept until 11:00 a.m., while Hubby cancelled my classes and took over with the kids. It took another day to fully recover, and I've come to the conclusion that my days of frequent international travel need to end soon. I just don't have it in me anymore.

Funny enough, I'm already booked to fly back to the U.S. on April 19th to go look at houses in New England State. Not to worry, I've already upgraded to business on both flights! Thank you Qatar Airways Privilege Club!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Nothing to Bitch About

While we still haven't heard any word back from New England School (NES), where Hubby has verbally accepted a tenure-track job in his field, I am not complaining. I did find out yesterday that campus visits have been scheduled for the tenure-track position in my field at the same school, so the chances aren't great that they'll suddenly throw me in the mix for that one.

However, last Friday I received a request for additional materials from a school in Awesome Nearby Town (think chowder). The position I applied for wasn't tenure-track, but a Lecturer of Writing position, and the school's Writing Program is wicked intense. I've never seen one so extensive! They have requirements at the freshman and junior-level, and the courses cover several disciplines. The school actually has two spots open, so I'm cautiously hopeful at this point. The thing is, this would be a ridiculously amazing town to live near! And, even though it's only a lecturer position, it would be a fantastic university affiliation to have. Based on what I've seen on their web page, they don't use part-time lecturers or adjuncts. Rather, it looks like, because there are lots of people who are attracted to the area, the school is able to get very well-qualified PhDs (most of whom do not have rhet/comp backgrounds) to fill the lecturer spots, and these positions are renewed as long as the person is doing a good job.

Although I was disappointed to hear about the tenure-track job at Hubby's school falling away as an option, I'm not complaining. We're moving to a great area, where there are probably more schools per square inch of state than anywhere I can imagine. I'm also trying to take a piece of advice from this , which makes a good point about the importance of giving up things other than food (or Facebook, chocolate, coffee, etc.) for Lent. It seems like giving up complaining, bitterness, judgment, and worry would make for much more meaningful sacrifices. I also found the timing of my reading this piece more than coincidental.

You see, by the time Hubby went for his interview in New England Town (NET), I'd given up praying that he'd "get the job." That doesn't mean I didn't pray...I did. I prayed for him to do well, be his best, most confident self during his campus visit. But I didn't pray that he'd get the job. Instead, I gave it all up to God. Really and truly, I just stopped worrying about it and instead found solace in knowing that He has everything under control. I don't know what the future holds for us (not everything anyway), but I know that worrying about every possibility isn't getting me anywhere. It was shortly after this when Hubby got the news about the job. Coincidence? Who knows. All I know is that I have nothing to complain about. I have healthy kids, a new adventure ahead of me, and we're going to DisneyWorld in July! We've secured a real estate agent to help us find a home in our new area, and we've already been pre-qualified for a mortgage (both of these things are good to have in the pocket). Everything else will work out somehow...

Monday, March 07, 2011

AcadeMama is Coming Home!!

HUBBY GOT THE JOB!! Yes this one, where he interviewed just one week ago. The area needs a shall be New England Town (NET). That's right folks, somewhere we never thought we'd end up, for many reasons, but mainly because most humanities PhDs from our institution end up in the south/midwest. But we are moving to an awesome city, near two even more awesome large cities, where Hubby has landed a tenure-track position in his field. It's a teaching school, so he will have a 4/4 load and departmental responsibilities, etc., but it's exactly the kind of school at which he's always envisioned himself having a career. I couldn't be more proud of him, and I think he'll be really happy at this school.

He got the call late Friday night from the Dean. I'd already gone to bed, and when he came upstairs to wake me and give me the news, I literally burst into tears. He said he hadn't realized until that moment just how badly I wanted to be done with Doha and back in the U.S. We immediately called our family members and gave them the good news, and his mother was particularly thrilled because I don't think she ever thought it was a serious possibility that we could/would end up in the northeast.

What does this mean for me? Well, hopefully it means good things job-wise. Hubby has already e-mailed the Dean with a counteroffer for the salary and an inquiry about what the teaching opportunities might be for me. What I didn't mention previously is that this school, New England School (NES) also has/had a tenure-track job open in MY FIELD. I applied for it in the fall and never heard anything from them. According to the job wiki, two people had phone interviews and campus visits were supposed to be done in late January/early February. Also according to the wiki, these have not yet taken place; at least nobody has claimed to have had a campus interview. So, depending upon how reliable the job wiki is, the position may or may not still be open. Here's the funny part (not so funny if you ask me). I looked up my application letter to NES, and I quickly discovered a very real reason why they might have just thrown my application in the trash. In the first paragraph, I announce that I'm writing to apply for X position in the Department of English at Completely Different School. Yep, folks, I'm that dumbass!! I had the header/address information correct, but I evidently lost my mind after that point.

So, in an attempt to correct this aggregious error, Hubby passed along a corrected letter of application and CV to the Dean (framed as a helpful follow-up to his inquiry about any possible work for me). We're hoping that the recent/corrected letter is the one that will end up going to the English Department for review, and then we can pretend that such a horrible mistake never happened.

Hubby has less than 2 weeks to accept or decline the offer, so time is ticking. That means that we should know something from the Dean by the end of today or tomorrow at the latest. In the worst case, maybe I could get hired as a lecturer (and they seem to use plenty of them).

I've made contact with a realtor, chosen the most likely town where we'd like to move, and narrowed down a working list of properties we're interested in. The plan is for me to fly the NET in late April to make a final choice for a house, check out schools, etc. But you know what they say about the best laid plans....