Saturday, March 31, 2012

Some Details

Yesterday was better, so I think I can manage to write more about what's going on.

I was out of the state b/t Thurs-Sat for the annual, national conference in my field, which resulted in some pretty great things (beyond getting to see my 18th-c peeps). While there, I discussed the professional conundrum Hubby and I are in with my position as an adjunct, and I received lots of advice on how I might push forward through various administrative channels to get more answers on the possibility of a full-time position (not necessarily tenure-track). The advice ranged from "Go to the union rep!" to "Have an open-ended talk with your department chair..." and other ideas about meeting with the EEO officer, the Provost, etc. So, I reflected on the advice, talked with Hubby, formed a plan, and began with a meeting with my department chair on Wednesday.

To make a long story short: there is no possibility of a full-time position for me at New England School. It turns out, the school is actually being SUED by the union for the exploitation/overuse of adjunct faculty, so it's not like the administration is in a position to be "afraid" of union action. The litigation will take months, if not years, and will likely result in little change even *if* the union wins the suit. I was informed that the Dean and Provost both know of the shortage of full-time faculty in English, the fact that we're nowhere near our peer schools in the ratio of full-time to adjunct faculty, and neither of them really care because they know it works best for the bottom line.

My chair was, for the first time, quite personable, empathetic, and encouraging. He completely understands our desire to stay, but also knows that we cannot continue indefinitely without full-time employment for both of us. He was happy to hear about other (non-British lit) courses I can teach and agreed to give me whatever he could to balance out the composition classes. He is happy to observe one of my courses and write a recommendation letter for me when I go back on the job market in the fall. In short, he's just as frustrated as anyone else, but his hands are tied.

The other stuff is all family related. I'm not sure if I can blog about it, if I should, if it would help anything....Essentially, my brother sent me a 7-page "manifesto," which he's been working on for more than two years, about what an awful person I am to be around, how much I hurt/offend/put off other people, how this all pisses him off, how I'm "filling a void" with my foodie nature, and on and on. There are many instances in the letter where he is simply factually WRONG, and other cases where he's referring to old shit. In some examples, he makes no logical sense, and in others I see pure hypocrisy. Ultimately, the entire thing demonstrates his ability and willingness to feel empathy for everyone else around him, except me. He attempts to identify how he and other family members feel without ever thinking about the possibility of any other perspective.

The whole thing occupied every cell of my brain all day Thursday, and even now I must work very hard to concentrate on anything else. I'm incredibly hurt, angry, frustrated, depressed, exhausted, and confused. I'm not sure how I want to respond. Hubby suggested that the letter says more about my brother than it does me, and I think that's a good point. I let him read it in order to get a third-party perspective to see if there was any truth in the accusations. He pointed out a couple things I could work on, but generally concluded it was mostly a heaping pile of bullshit.

This has just been a bad week needs to be better. This too shall pass, right?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

You Have No Idea

how completely, utterly shitty I feel right now. Some of it's job related, but mostly it's family related (not my husband, children, or in-laws). I don't have it in me to write more at the moment because the little ones will see me crying, which makes them worry, and they should never have to worry about the stuff Mama has to deal with.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

And presto, I'm a generalist?

So, one thing about being an adjunct at a school where most of the adjuncts *do not* have the PhD is that I get scraps. These are courses that someone else couldn't/wouldn't teach or something changed in their schedule and they'll be gone or doing some administrative work or something. This semester, I got two Shakespeare sections, which are a new prep, but going very well, and I'm loving the Bard! For the summer, I landed the Johnson course, which will be great. And today, I just got a call from my dept. chair asking if I'd be interested in teaching a Recent British Fiction course in the fall. Uh, duh??? YES!!

Never mind that I could barely even think of two recent British writers, or that I wasn't quite sure how to define "recent." Ultimately, I get what I get, and I don't throw a fit. This is essentially the attitude all adjunct must have if they want to stay employed, right? So, yes, if I keep up this pace--every semester getting some random literature course--I'll be a viable contender for British generalist positions. Ooooh great, because those are SO much more in demand! {{super snarkiness intended}}

Now, back to figuring out what the hell I want to read in the fall.... Any suggestions? I *do not* like sci-fi, so I will not be including Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and any such stuff. Sorry, it just ain't my bag.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


Yes, I'm lame, I have no time to write, and all I do is complain these days shoot me. Here's the low-down

  • I scored a summer course in my field! A seminar on The Age of Johnson, and I'm so nerdtastically happy about it, except I still have no decisions on texts....
  • I also scored a third class for the fall (yay, we'll be able to eat)
  • Hubby won a fellowship to a Military History Summer Seminar at Westoint!
  • I'll be sitting in sunny San Antonio in 3 days, sipping margaritas, inhaling Mexican food, and catching up with all my favorite 18th-c. peeps! Oh, and my brother just moved there, so I get to crash at his place for free :)
  • My mom came up last week, and it was a good visit! I was not in the best shape (see below), but we enjoyed our time together and she was a huge help.
  • We finished painting our dining room, and it is beautiful! It's actually my most favorite room in the house. I have every design detail planned, it's just a matter of saving the money to buy all the pieces I want. Really folks, it's so great. Sunny, airy, light, but calming and fresh and inviting. It took four paint samples to find the right shade of yellow, but Pottery Barn's connection to Benjamin Moore paints had this perfect shade. It's called Hawthorne Yellow, and I love it!

I paired it with a really light, matte shade of green called Willow Wind, and the combination is just what I wanted for the room: warmth and color, while being able to draw on the dark wood of our dining table.

Not So Good

  • I hurt my back a couple weeks ago. I was painting, I bent down properly, and I couldn't get up. The urgent care person ordered an x-ray, but my primary care doc said I didn't need it b/c there were no sign of nerve damage (which is what would signal a herniated disc). So, she did neither an x-ray nor an MRI, treated my like a drug-seeking junkie off the street, and demonstrated how to bend at the knee to pick things up. Despite my requests to try to find out what/if anything had happened to my lower back, I was offered steroids, valium (to use as a muscle relaxer), lidoderm pain patches (worthless), and low-dose vicodin. I want to function, play with my kids, get my work done, go to the gym. I do not want to be high. I want to prevent and/or correct any health problem or injury I have. I do not want to stockpile drugs. Evidently, addiction to prescription pain pills is a problem in the area, so my guess is that I was stereotyped. Either that, or she just thinks I'm a weenie?
  • I have no time to work. Seriously. Like, ever.
  • Hubby's fellowship will take him away for three weeks. I will be a single mom of three for three weeks during a time when the younger two won't be in daycare at all. That's enough to make me seek drugs!
  • Even when I'm working out, which defnitely helps my mood, I feel lost and depressed, like nobody understands what I going through (with work, with the lack of friends, with the uncertain career), and I just want to escape it all. Crawl into bed for three days and not even come out to see the light of day.

There's more, but I only get to work after the kids are in bed, and it's pushing 10:00, so off to hit Othello.