Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Long and Winding Road....

...carries me two states away.  Next week, I go college visiting with Daughter.  She's chosen a college, and they've chosen her, so the match is made and with it, our Spring Break plans.  So, some brief updates before I head out.

A funny conversation with a student this week:
Student: "I can't see my online course anymore, and I need to get to it."
Me: (tappity tappity on my keyboard)  "Was it an early term course?"
Student: "Yes, it was."
Me: "That term ended last week."
Student: "No, that can't be right because I still need to take the final."
Me: "That term ended last week."
Early this week, it occurred to me that with Daughter graduating, I no longer needed a larger car to haul her bass drum.  This meant I no longer needed a larger car payment, either.  With my car no longer in warranty, it was time to consider alternatives.  Perhaps I could save enough to help Daughter get a car when she turns 18.

My folks have recently worked with a great sales person to get a new car, so I went there.  I found what I wanted and set to negotiating.  My dad was there, too.  He's a stern negotiator, where I tend to be...wishy washy.  He props up my backbone in these cases.

I stated what my payment needed to be.  We negotiated the price.  It helped to know (and say) that a competing dealership in a nearby larger city had 36 of the same car on their lot for $1,000 less.  Then, we got to trade-in and interest rates.  They lowballed my trade-in, of course.  And their initial interest rate was so insulting that my dad about blew up.

Talking to the finance manager was an exercise in intimidation tactics.  The thing is that intimidation doesn't intimidate me; it pisses me off.  Don't try manipulating me.  I dated Ranger.  I know what manipulation can really do.  It just makes me think you're an asshole.

They finally said they could get the payment I wanted IF they could get their company to approve such a low interest rate and IF my trade-in checked out fine.

They did.  It did.  I have a new car.  And it's cute and spiffy and has nerdy gadgets and I love it.

Jacob hates it.  That first night I had it, he spent a good long time sitting in it, poking at things and going, "Ew," and making disgusted faces.  He'd had a bad day, and I was catching the brunt of it.  Bluntly put, he shit all over my parade.

Daughter noticed this and put it in perspective later.  "It's not about what he wants," she said.  "It's about what you want and need to do, so he can suck it up."

She's blunt, but I suppose she's right.

When I made the decision, I texted him and said, "I know it doesn't thrill you, but I decided to get the car."

He replied, "I'm glad for you."  So, that's something.  A couple of days later, and he's getting used to it.  He spent today trying things out on it and not making the "Ew" face.

One more tidbit, and this one made me smile.  I was chatting with my new boss and said something about the age difference between Penny and me, as she's been vocal about being close to retirement age.

The boss gave me a strange look.  "I thought you were in your thirties."

I smiled big.  "No, I'm 44," I said.  To my new favorite person.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Kids these days....

First of all, let me say that I thought "Happy Pi Day" on 3/14 was brilliant.  I will be much better prepared next year.  I was a bad nerd and dropped the ball on that one!

Second of all, let me say that it really sucks to break a riding crop on someone's ass.  That's disappointing.  Just sayin'

And finally -- are schools not teaching about plagiarism anymore??  Every single semester, we have someone who gets caught plagiarizing and is completely bowled over by the idea that it's not okay.  This is the second time I've heard the excuse, "The test was to show my ability to find knowledge, not to say what I know."

Really?!?!?!  Really?!?!?! That made sense in your own head?

You're in college, for fuck's sake.  Why would your degree be based on your ability to copy someone else's knowledge?

A coworker says this is a product of "teach to the test."  They don't test research skills, so it's not taught anymore.  That's incredibly sad.  I think of all I've learned by just doing research for fun.  I liked the movie about Seabiscuit, so I went in pursuit of true-life materials about Seabiscuit and his people.  Have we abandoned curiosity?  Does no one get high from the "Ah-ha!" moment anymore?

My daughter will graduate from high school soon.  It just occurred to me that I've never seen her sit down with a stack of index cards, on which are scrawled references and quotes, and write a well-supported research paper.  I remember doing that for two major projects in high school.  I loved them both!  But that might just be me....

She writes a lot, but not like that.  I'm kind of stunned by this revelation.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

I don't always fuck up, but when I do....

....I make it a big one.

I sent an email to faculty today.  I get a response from Penny:
"Did you copy the new boss on this?  I think she'd like to be included on everything we send out. And you should have put it on the blog. We need to communicate that way instead."

For a lot of reasons, this pissed me off.  Maybe it did so more than usual because this day was pissing me off in general.  So, I sent a text to Jacob:
"I've so had it with Penny today.  I'll call later to explain, but she's on my bad list."


Then, I noticed the text before that.  Wait, that's not a conversation I had with Jacob.  That's the one I had with....


Shit.  I sent that text to Penny.   Shit.  Shit.  Shit.

What else could I do.  I owned it.  I sent another to apologize.  I said she did something to rub me the wrong way, and it was a bad day already.  Very unprofessional, and I'm sorry.

I could have said that autocorrect did it.  I could have said she wasn't the Penny that I meant.  But no...I owned it.  Caused a huge cloud of awkwardness, but there you have it.

She came by my office a few minutes later.  "Sounds like we need to talk."

So, I told her that I had enough on my plate without criticism and the stupid departmental blog (which, by the way, is not even published yet).  She said, she didn't mean it that way.  She recognizes that I'm overwhelmed right now and will back off.

All in all, we're good.

Except that cloud of awkward hanging out here.

Shit.  I need ice cream.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Lady Blogget

Several months ago, I received a long email from Jacob, in the middle of the day.  He'd been thinking about it for quite some time and wanted to say a few things.  To paraphrase, he wanted me to know that he treasures the life we have together.  He can't imagine life without me, without us.  That said, he wanted to explore a new private lifestyle for us.

Before I get into those details, I'd like to explain a little background.  It should be obvious that Jacob is a kinkster.  He's had various and sundry experiences, and, through many conversations, he's helped me put name to things I've always found...interesting, but hadn't identified as "kink."  It's definitely kink, though.

What he offered me in that email was to put his life - our life - in my hands.  If I want it to be so, I can command everything, every detail, including him.  In effect, I own him.

I am the Dom.  I am the Mistress.

To begin to test these waters, I developed a short list of "expectations."  I have a longer list, but I'd like to see how seriously he wants to take this before going deeper into it.  At the moment, he wears my collar.  A simple stainless steel band.  Only I have the key to remove it.  That symbolism is powerful, but the real test is how it plays out each day.

Is this a real lifestyle that he takes seriously?  Or a bedroom game he wants to play?  We'll see.

But for him, I am Lady Blogget.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Why I buy skinny jeans now

Because I've been working my ass off.

Son't get me wrong; I love what I do.  I think I'm pretty good at it, too, and there's some evidence that others think so, too.  If you look back at a post I did on February 23, 2012, I talk about what happened when we hosted that professional conference I go to each Fall.  That was the 2011 conference, and it went beautifully.  The 2012 conference was supposed to be in Maine.  That contract fell through at the last minute, so guess who hosted again?  That's right - everyone came back to Colorado.

Just before the conference, we had elections.  Apparently, there were a few nominations for President, but only one name was nominated.  Yep, it was mine.  So, I'm President-Elect of this national organization now, which means I'm responsible for planning the next conference.  I think I can do that....  I'll be signed in as President at the 2013 conference.

Anyhow, so, we find out about this conference on short notice.  What everyone didn't know was that we were already a pretty tumultuous office.  In January last year, we finally hired some help for me.  We'll call her Penny.  She alternates between big help and pain in the ass, but that's another story.  Suffice it to say that her negativity is often wearing on me, and I learned this while rooming with her at a different conference.

About a month after Penny was hired, we got wind of the fact that our college administration is having talks with a company who outsources what our office does.  WTF???  My boss let us know that he wasn't in the loop on any of it, and it was quite possible they wanted to get rid of him.  He told me I shouldn't be worried - I was "marketable."  Doesn't that make you feel secure?  Me neither.

The trouble started years before then, when my boss and his boss started butting heads.  He said it was because she didn't like working with men.  We spent last summer wondering when we'd be shown the door and watching things deteriorate with my boss until he finally announced that he was being "transitioned out" of our department.  His boss, the VP, would organize a search for a new boss, but the position was being elevated to as Assistant VP status.  Apparently, the administration had decided to invest in us after all, but not with him as boss.

Since that day, we've had more direct dealings with the VP than ever before.  And you know what?  I came to realize that the problems we had with her existed because my boss was my boss.  I've learned a lot about him in the last few months, and I honestly don't like what I'm learning.  Especially the parts about things he was authorized to do to help us...and didn't do them.  He threw us to the winds, even when a crisis happened a couple of months ago.  We were on our own.  We handled it fine but support would have been nice.

I was on the search committee for my new boss.  We visited with many candidates.  One of them was so terrible that I still have to laugh about it.  In meetings with me, he spent a lot of time slamming Mormons and then, in the next breath, offered me a job.  What a weenie.

Long story short, I now have a new boss.  She's been here three weeks.  She's a kicking ass and taking name kind of person, and I'm loving the direction she's shepherding us in right now.  Exciting times ahead for our little office.

And as for the conference this year?  Kentucky.  I'm so happy to plan to go to Kentucky.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013


That's the best way to describe how my stomach has been feeling for the last few months.  Putrid.  It's gone from occasional nausea to violent gastronomical attacks that put me down for days.  I've missed a lot of work because of this.

The doctor sent me to have a gall bladder ultrasound.  Completely fascinated the technician when she saw my third kidney. Yep, I'm a mutant.  But the gall bladder was normal.  That wasn't it.

A couple of weeks ago, I took a tumble and cracked a rib.  My doctor was out, but that doctor said I could be lactose intolerant.  Try going without dairy.  That wasn't it.

I called my doctor and said maybe I needed a specialist.  No, he wanted to see me one more time.  In the meantime, my mother hit the Internet and made some interesting discoveries.  One very likely candidate was called gastroparesis.  It strikes mostly diabetic women, is like neuropathy of the stomach, and is often described as feeling "putrid."

I printed that one and took it with me.

In the doctor's office, I described my symptoms again.  This was about 10 AM, and I said, "The thing is that I haven'r eaten anything since dinner last night, but I still feel full."

"I think you've made your own diagnosis without knowing it," he said, turning to his computer.  "Sounds like gastroparesis."

I told him about my mother and showed him the printed page.  He laughed and said, "Good for her!"

This means that my stomach is having trouble processing normally.  I have to change to a diet of 5 small meals a day, instead of 3 regular.  I have to switch to a lot of liquid meals. Break out the blender!  And I can never ever overeat.

I am going for a scan to confirm it.  I get to be radioactive for a little while.  It would be really cool if I could come out of it with superpowers.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

New Year's Resolution Going Badly

So, I resolved to blog more in 2013.  That's going about as well as the resolution to not procrastinate.

Last year had some big events that I didn't write about.  I'll try to do a good synopsis here and, once again, get better about writing.  I really, really need to be better at it, dear Diary, because it's a good outlet when things are swirling.

We've had ups and downs, but Jacob and I are still together.  Same living arrangement, with Daughter and I in the little house and Jacob and girl(s) in the main house.  We have our communal evenings and meals together, with our pets in tow.  We have my dog, his dog, and his cat - now that his ex has seen fit to release his pets to him since she's had a new baby.  The baby's arrival seems to have made things a little topsy-turvy for his Youngest at her mother's house, but things at our house are stable.  We have a unique family, but we've formed a family, nonetheless.

One major change on that front, though: his Oldest is no longer living with him.  This was a months-long heart-wrenching saga, that ends badly.  It started when she went on her annual visit to see her mother for part of the summer.  Actually, in hindsight, it started years before that when her grandmother started maneuvering the situation, but this is when her plan came to fruition.  Long story short, the woman has controlled the lives of her children until they are crippled as functional members of society, except for the one who found another continent to be a safe haven from her.  Now, she's turned that attention to her grand-daughter.

She moved here and started having weekends with the child.  You've heard of Disneyland Dads?  This is the grandma version.  The child was showered in mani-pedis, clothing, puppies, and gifts.  Yes, I said puppies.  Plural.  Where would any 11-year-old choose to be?  To make herself feel better about shafting Jacob, she rewrote history to paint our household as one of near-neglect, when quite the opposite is true.  Sure, we can't afford a lot (like mani-pedis, racks of clothing, and puppies), but all the children are educated and supported in their unique interests, and our evenings are filled with good food and laughter. No one wants for love and support.

Long story short (I keeps saying that!), we no longer hear from her at all.  Oldest is now 12 and has the legal right to choose, but someday, she's going to be told no and there will be hell to pay.  I'm sure we'll hear from grandma when she has a petulant teenager on her hands.  Jacob has made it clear that he's always here for his child, but she'll have to let him know when she needs him.

For my kids, Son decided to try living in San Diego for awhile, which is where my sister was living.  He wanted to do oceanography, but the poor kid gets seasick!  When my sister's husband was transferred to Virginia, Son decided to try that instead.  He'll start school again there soon, but is doing well with working for now.  He's 21 now, which bowls me over every time I think about it.  We have a great time with him when he comes for a visit, but he's still strongly independent.

Daughter is about to graduate from high school.  She bowls me over, too.  She's such a spectacular young woman.  I wish I'd been as level-headed and solid in purpose as she is.  A girl of many creative talents, she's decided she wants to be a college professor.  She's headed to college in the Fall, and I really don't know how I'll cope with her absence.  Our relationship is incredibly close, but I understand her need to be her own person now.  It's time for that.  But I'm Mommy.

Work has had a major upheaval.  That might actually warrant another post of its own....  Many changes and lots of hard work.

And another post for health news.  Another area of major change!