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Archive for September, 2012

Autumnal Musings

September 30th, 2012 at 07:51 pm

One month into the school year, I am making October 1 resolutions. I need more sleep, more walking, and a better schedule.

I have been successful on a couple of fronts. I listed a few things on ebay over the weekend, and both have bids. I got DD to bed earlier tonight and have drawn up a nightly schedule to make our household run more smoothly. I'm ready for tomorrow's classes.

We also had lots of fun at dinner last night, and DD and I had a beautiful afternoon with my ufriends at the pumpkin farm today. Splendid weather all weekend. Long may it last.

DH and I started brainstorming a preliminary plan for the upcoming semester. Tuesday is the deadline for my study abroad apps. Cross your fingers we have enough!

No Resolution

September 27th, 2012 at 08:04 pm

The payroll issues will not be resolved. The department chair says the university will NOT cut additional checks for folks, despite them being out over 1K each. He apologized: it's not his fault but I'm still really steamed and need to think of other things to get my mind on a more positive bent.
I just keep thinking how this would never happen in a real business. If you short someone money, you cut them another check. It's stupid. I can hardly wait to see how badly they screw up next month's check.

But onward. I need to photograph and list a bunch of stuff on ebay tomorrow. I have a dental appointment and a pile of grading, and a birthday present to buy.
I'd like to find a little fun in this grind of a week. Hmmm- what to do....?

Outrage and Frustration

September 26th, 2012 at 08:51 pm

That title about sums up yet another delightful day at the university. It appears we have another repeat of last year's payroll debacle. None of our instructors who are teaching overloads are getting paid for them until at least November. My colleagues who have rearranged their lives to slog through five classes have just found that their October paychecks are at least 20% short. And the health insurance deductions are also wrong for many of us. One of my colleagues has been double charged; mine is some odd $116 more than it should be.

Let's just saying tempers are running high. I'm eagerly awaiting the response to my e-mail to the department chair. Not happy. Not happy at all.

Full Days

September 25th, 2012 at 07:34 pm

It's getting late here, I've been grading for two hours, and I think I still have two hours of work ahead of me. I will be overjoyed when my evening class ends in three weeks; Tuesdays are such a slog.

I have lots more to blog about, but think I'd better get to work. It'll just have to wait until Friday...

Erranding

September 22nd, 2012 at 09:44 am

Looks like a big chunk of the day will be spent on Saturday errands--library, emissions test, groceries, and my fav--Target.

I've been trying to do errands during the week, but it's not working so well. We've decided to spring for three more windows before the spring, but stopping there for now. DD's windows are cracked and leak a lot, but we're not much ready to go further. We've been talking about bumping the kitchen wall out a bit, and need to think that through before we do the back side of the house.

Lots of grading still awaits. Ugh

Lots of Hand-Holding

September 21st, 2012 at 11:14 am

It's about 10 days until the Study Abroad application deadline. I've got over twice as many as we need to make it happen, so I'm feeling confident about it now.
There's a lot of work involved--answering lots of questions, sending out lots of e-mails, reminding students about recommendations and passports etc. I really like the students who are hyper-excited--and the ones who are shy and quiet, but just bursting inside. It's been fun.

DH hung our new super insulated blinds last night. He really has issues (the sweet one) with finishing things. I think it's some kind of disorder. As we were unpacking them, I said to myself, "He'll hang two, but not the third." Sure enough, he got through two and said he thought he was done for the evening. It was 8! Through lots of talking (while I was supervising DD's math), I got him to hang the final one. It's odd behavior; I have a touch of it myself, but can't really explain it.

Not much money news. Looks like I have to switch the autobilling from our old ATT to U-verse, so better get going on that.

Always Running

September 19th, 2012 at 08:06 pm

It's been another rushing week here. DH isn't sleeping right and we've all been struggling again with the early mornings.

It's also been a strange week at school. My four-person class has dwindled further to three, and Monday night, another person was out. And then there were two. It doesn't much make for a fruitful discussion, does it? We got pizza and watched a very good DVD on Harriet Jacobs, one of the first women slaves to write a slave narrative. It actually was a nice evening after teaching all day Monday. Since DD had to come to the university with me on Monday, she got to have a lovely lunch away with her dad. We were watching "Glengarry Glen Ross" in my Business Lit class and that isn't exactly appropriate for young-uns.

Yesterday I held another info session for my Study Abroad types. We only had about another 12 turn up, but I've got 17 who have started the application process. I hope many end up coming.

Today was another busy one--classes, then home to stir up a casserole (not my favorite) for a after-school tutoring session our church puts on. I also made a cake for the kids, and then spent another couple hours helping DD with her upcoming speech.

I really feel like I'm always running--and will be happy when my evening class ends in another month.
The overload schedule coupled with the Study Abroad obligations have stretched me. I really need a few days off to catch up.

Hmmm- financial news? None to speak of. I have a lot of financial issues on the "to -do" list, but it might be a while!

Productive Day Indeed

September 16th, 2012 at 09:22 pm

I can't say I had a fabulously fun day today, but man, I got a lot done. I'm all prepped for the week, papers almost all graded, and even some laundry done.

It was a beautiful day here, so when DD went to a friend's house to play, I sat on the patio and read in the autumnal sunshine. It doesn't get much better.

This evening we grilled steaks, watched Wallendar, and I read a couple capstone projects; one passed, but one failed.

Being caught up will make tomorrow easier. It's my long day--and our school district has Jewish New Year off tomorrow, so DD has to spend the day at the university with me.

In some financial news--DD has decided to play the flute in the school band. As we were on the verge of heading toward the music store, we heard from friends that their daughter had given up flute, and asked if we'd like hers. Wow! Flute rental was $20+/month, so I'm pleased as heck. They were given it on the condition that they give it away when their daughter was done--so on it goes!

A Great Evening Out

September 15th, 2012 at 09:03 pm

I went out for my birthday with my university women last night. It's strange to admit, but my DH, wonderful as he is, just stinks at planning celebrations. Even with hints and help, he fails miserably at it. The past couple years, I've decided rather than being cranky and disappointed with his meager attempts, I'd take charge of my own fun.

We had a riotous time. There were six of us--and we went to a Cali-Mexi Taco place--only a few years old--and right on the river. It was nice enough to sit outside, we drank fabulous margaritas, ate Korean beef tacos and other delights, and laughed until my sides ached. Someone down the river started lighting Japanese lanterns, and it was so beautiful. I haven't been out that late or had that much fun in ages.

I decided to treat them out of some of the proceeds of mom's house, but even with all that food and those pitchers of margs, it was barely $100. Terrific--a birthday to remember. One of them called it an "epic evening" and I agree.

Fun at the Fair

September 13th, 2012 at 10:04 pm

The Study Abroad Fair was a lot more fun than I thought it would be. The organizing agency sent out a rep, and we hit it off right away--two old English majors making
Hemingway and typewriter jokes. She was fabulous, had a good patter for approaching students, and made the day go very quickly.

Indeed, we had more interest and many more students than I expected. Our next session in this coming Tuesday, so I feel like I'm juggling this obligation with my teaching overload, so am up late grading tonight in a messy house with lots of laundry.

They brought us lunch, but I parked in the campus pay lot because it was raining. Still--a very productive day.

Tomorrow's Events

September 12th, 2012 at 07:28 pm

I'm scheduled to spend all day tomorrow at the Study Abroad Fair. I think it will be fun. It's right in our Student Union, and I hope to have a lot of traffic for my booth. I'm supposed to decorate it, and I hauled bunting and flags (half price at Tesco after the Queen's Jubilee) home from England. I also have the laptop set up to show slides and the sights, and will have a list for folks who are interested, Cadbury and Walker's Shortbread as well.

The Center for Intl Ed is providing lunch, but since it looks like it'll rain tomorrow, I'll arrive early and park in the Union rather than my 1/2 mile walk.


After a loooong day, we spent two hours walking our DD's middle-school classes. I may go to bed now!

Yeeesh

September 11th, 2012 at 08:14 pm

That's about all I can say about these weeks. It's only Tuesday night, and I'm wiped out. Yesterday was a marathon day--four regular classes from 8-2, then my evening class from 5:30-10. That's the odd small class with four students, but (do the math) 3/4 of them don't have their textbook here during Week 3 of class. You can guess how well they're doing.

I spent most of my office hours today scanning in a story for another class, then distributing flyers for the study abroad. I'd like to get as many signed up as possible, and the October 1 deadline looms.

I wish I could say tomorrow will be easier, but again, I have four classes, no time for lunch, and a two-hour middle school PTO session tomorrow night.

Now that I'm done whining, I did sell a book today, and I got it mailed. I've fallen into the habit of stopping at the grocery store on my way home a couple times a week. I've never shopped like that before; I'm usually a once-a-week shopper, but this seems easier with my time-crunched schedule. The budget hasn't shown any ill effects yet. And because it's 2:30 or 3 when I shop, it's not busy. I may stick with this as long as it works.

Two last student e-mails to deal with---

So, What Next?

September 9th, 2012 at 12:33 pm

We spent some time yesterday trying to brainstorm what our next goals are. More contributions to the retirement plans certainly, more to DD's 529 plan. We have no major decisions made at all.

We've been living on a moderately tight budget for a long time. Except for travel, we're pretty frugal.
There are things we need to do for our home; I've ordered new blinds for the family room, we bought some fairly inexpensive curtains for the living room, and I spent an exciting afternoon yesterday at the commercial laundromat washing comforters and bedspreads.

I'm calling painters tomorrow for bids on the house trim, and DH is taking my 25+-year-old Swedish wool rugs to be cleaned and rebound. We always have post-summer spending to do, so none of this is too much out of the ordinary. We're postponing the rest of the windows until next year at the earliest too.

So what else do we need to do? We need to figure out what to do with the rest of the cash from the house sale. It's sitting in savings right now, and I need to investigate other places for it.

So, post-mortgage life goes on. The dishwasher stubbornly refused to drain last night, and after church today, we very unsystematically monkeyed around with it--using the wet-dry vac to try to extract the clog. We took apart the air vent, unhooked the pipes, and somehow now, everything works. I think we saved ourselves a $100 service call. I hung clothes out to dry, and with DD at a friend's house for the afternoon, will work on lesson plans for the week.

But I'm thinking, thinking, thinking....

Mission Accomplished: The Mortgage

September 8th, 2012 at 07:54 pm

Well folks, we're now officially debt free. We went to the credit union this morning and paid off the mortgage.

We were a bit giddy, and would have been a little disappointed if the teller hadn't shared our excitement. Turns out it was her first mortgage payoff--and she complimented us--saying how especially nice it was that "young folks like us" had their mortgage paid off. I think she misjudged our ages by half a decade at least.

I am grateful to my parents for being such careful stewards of their money and property. They both were Depression-reared and came from nothing. Both were raised by their moms alone--my dad's father dead from pneumonia at 37, and my mom's father left during the depression. But my mother particularly had a way with a dollar--stretching it beyond any of my poor powers.

The teller recommended a mortgage-burning party, but so many of our friends are so broke, it seems boastful. Instead I think we'll have a nice party without mentioning the event to them.

I guess I'd better update my sidebar!

Zombie-fied

September 6th, 2012 at 01:22 pm

That's how I describe how I felt yesterday. I taught four classes back to back from 8-2. DD is still very excited about middle school, but the days suddenly seem SO full. I got some things done during this morning's office hours, and am looking forward to being home alone tomorrow to tackle more things.

In more exciting news, we may use my day off tomorrow to go pay off our mortgage. We talked about waiting until the end of the month, but heck, why not just do it now?

I'll keep y'all posted.

A Successful First Day

September 4th, 2012 at 06:28 pm

All told, both DD and I had successful first days back at school. I only had a single class today, so it was a fast one for me.

DD's bus didn't show up until after we left to take her to school. We didn't want to risk lateness on the first day, but I spoke to the bus driver this afternoon, and she assured me they'd be more on schedule tomorrow.

I did a few errands after my class. I purchased a paper attendance book since the university doesn't provide them anymore, deposited some checks, and returned a few library books.

I suspect I'll be wiped out tomorrow with four classes back to back from 8-2. If I can make it to the restroom, grab some water, and down some string cheese, I'll call it successful.

I spent $13 on school supplies, and $1.75 on coffee. No other news to report!

Winding Into the School Year

September 3rd, 2012 at 09:15 pm

I feel like we should have done something spectacular this weekend--especially today--but we spent the morning deep cleaning our bedroom. We took the bed apart, vacuumed underneath the bed, behind the bed, behind the dressers etc. Everything in there got washed, then we moved onto DD's room.

Is this a sign of age that rather than whooping it up over the holiday weekend, we clean? Probably.

I did some minor grocery shopping, we grilled steaks, and got every one all spruced up to begin the school year. This will be almost an hour earlier rising for DD. I hope she doesn't crash tomorrow on the first day of middle school! I hope I don't either, but I only have one class tomorrow. Mondays and Wednesday are the heavy days with four classes back to back.

I hope to get a walk in before heading to the university. I've been such a slacker this summer, my good habits need to kick in.

A Different Kind of Labor Day Parade

September 2nd, 2012 at 07:17 pm

We went to the local "Parade of Homes" for the second year in a row. Some of them were outrageously stupidly big--like the builders didn't know what to do with all that room. We both liked the smaller ones better, but came home appreciating our house more. I think we mostly went to look at tile work, but saw some very pretty patios that we might emulate in the future.

What's with all sorts of new homes not having baths in the master suite? The showers are so big you could have a baseball team in them, but I would want a nice long luxurious English-length bath tub if I owned that type of house.

Some of the houses were so over the top, it was fascinating to watch peoples' reactions. Huge bars in the basement with (eek!) three refrigerators and a dishwasher in the bar area. One had a caged-off wine cellar. We fell in with some irreverent types who kept critiquing the wacky stuff. I'm not sure a pub style bar area should be raised two steps off the floor. Everyone who looked at it predicted lawsuits and head injuries.

DH put up the living room curtain rod when we got home, and we decided we like our 50+ year old suburb with the beautiful trees and manageable sized houses.

Lovely Evening

September 1st, 2012 at 09:27 pm

One of my university colleagues had a b-day party for her daughter so we spent a lovely evening there.

I was bringing insalta caprese and on our way to the farmer's market, a neighbor stopped us to tell us our car tire was flat. This is the same tire we had fixed a week ago, so we got it fixed again--and DH will go back to the original mechanic for a refund, I think.

We also bought a new curtain rod and some panels at Pier One, shopped for blinds and a grill but bought nothing else. Reviewing the day--it was a bit spendy. I spent some on internet shopping for DD and me--but all very good bargains with clearance and coupons. Gotta love kid's jeans for $7.99

I have that winsome end-of-summer feeling. We came home to coffee on the patio and wished summer would go on.