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2008-10-06 - 10:20 a.m.

...and time marches forward...

It is the same lyric, over and over again: I wish that I had more time. It's already Monday morning again, and I'm back to my scrambled mess of trying to meet deadlines that are whooshing past me. Too much to do.

I spent all day Friday in the lab trying to get my elemental analyzer to work - we've got a leak in the Helium line, which means the three of us are sauntering the lab throwing around words like "combustion chamber," "cracked reduction reactor," "pneumatic autosampler" and "swagelok." Really, the only reason I do this job is so that I can sound like a red-shirt guy on Star Trek.

I've had disturbing student issues this week as well. Most of my students are fabulous, but I'm having communication issues with one of them. It started with a proposal deadline that came up on Friday - I received two emails on Thursday. The first was an outline of the student's proposal, which had either ignored or simply misunderstood my instruction about what his doctoral topic is supposed to be. The second - which arrived after 6pm - was a request for a letter of reference that I would have needed to complete by Friday morning. I declined to write the letter, and I will be meeting with this student on Tuesday to discuss this situation. First of all, I cannot write a letter for someone I barely know. Secondly, I am not inclined to write a letter for someone who consistently outlines a project in an area that I've already told him I am not capable of advising. Thirdly, it shows an incredible lack of foresight to request a letter from your adviser the night before the letter is due. I will discuss this issue, but also require that this student set up a committee ASAP. If we are starting down this road after the first month of working together, then I need to make sure that we have our meetings formalized via committee. Not looking forward to that.

The committee-from-hell has reared its ugly head once again, too. I've had to cancel my meetings for Wednesday so that I can attend a formal meeting to discuss "the report." It seems that certain members are very unhappy with it - I'm not feeling very sympathetic towards them, because they have been a monumental pain in my backside. However, my department members have advised me to be much more diplomatic and goal-oriented if I choose to speak. I will keep this in mind as I think about how much I would rather be flossing my cat than sitting through these discussions any further. Sigh. It's tough when Monday comes and you realize that you are already ready to have a weekend.


Susi has mastered what I've called the "Moon Crawl." She LOOKS like she should be going forward, but in actuality her crawl motions send her scooting backwards across the room. She is able to achieve some forward motion now, but in a very interesting fashion... She's also figured out how the baby walker works, and has rolled through the house in deliberate search of things that can kill her - electrical outlets, power cords, stairs, caustic chemicals... The motion was enough to inspire more rearrangement of the household.

And so we just bought and installed two out of five baby gates, making our house is about $375 out of $575 safer. These things are NOT cheap!! Now we just need to close those cupboards in the kitchen and get all of K's expensive books off the bottom shelves in the living room and nursery...


Thanks to those of you who have asked about Nanny. Following our discussion two weeks ago, she has - to my eyes - improved quite a bit. She arrives on time, she keeps the kitchen clean, she is cheerful, and Susi is clearly excited to see her when she comes. These are good things. There are still some things where we wish that Nanny could be a little bit more self-starting. I thought that we would sit down with her this afternoon and let her know these things, AFTER I tell her that I'm feeling much happier with her work now. We were offered the chance to take her on for a 4th day, but we declined. K will need to make some money before this is a financial possibility.


I feel very very VERY lucky that I took my money out of the US market back in July/August. I also feel VERY lucky that I have a steady job. And until recently I thought that I was still able to stash some bucks aside in spite of the cost of baby. But then I discovered - urp - that the Canadian government was still paying me parental leave even after I went back to work. I misunderstood and thought that my university was supposed to fix this - nope. So I called Service Canada last week and faced the horrible truth that I have to mail back more than one thousand dollars. Urp. It isn't rightfully my money, but somehow it's always harder to give up money that at one time has FELT like it belonged to you....

This is a looong entry. And I should really get back to work.

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...they are just words, Suzi... - 2011-08-29
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