Yesterday at 3pm EST, I was part of a critical stage of labor negotiations between SEED Media and Science Bloggers, and I’m happy to report that through the sole grace of my diplomatic skills, the strike was resolved. There were some other folks there too, but I cannot tell a lie – it was your Blogiste who saved the day, got Science Blogs back on track and came up with a critical strategy for making us better, faster, more relevant and bionic.
Or, I would have, really, if I hadn’t had my hand up to my wrist in a goat’s vagina. I was totally on the conference call – for the first 15 minutes. I think I may actually have said a word, or even three – I know I said “Yes, I’m here.” But I was kind of thinking about Arava, my little doe that went into labor five days early that morning. And just as everyone was discussing strategic communications, my husband came racing over, miming “get your ass off that conference call and into the barn right now.” I mimed back “Now? Are you absolutely sure?” He was sure, and the gesture used to indicate that left no doubt.
I had a brief dilemma – is it more polite to announce while your CEO is speaking about corporate strategy “I’ve got to go deliver a baby goat right now” or is it more polite to simply hang up? I didn’t have time to check Miss Manners, so I went with the hang up as faster.
I know, I know, you folks are disappointed in me. A really good apocalyptic prophetess of doom/labor negotiator/farm chick would have taken the phone into the barn, calmly participating in the conference call, offering up excellent ideas, while also quietly delivering the goat. I’m totally sure I could have done it. But we were hamstrung by a critical technology failure – the cordless doesn’t have signal in the barn. That was the only consideration, though.
Oh, and maybe I thought a little about the fact that Arava was bellowing pretty much like I did when I was pushing my babies out, my kids were asking “what is that gooey stuff…is that the baby?” and Eric and Phil were worrying about what to do, and that I’m prone to yelling things like “Holy fuck!” if something goes wrong that might be taken amiss, during a discussion of SEED’s finances.
It turns out that Arava, who is small and a little younger than I’d like (we also had a critical technology failure – the fence – when getting the girls knocked up) had a mispresentation – a baby goat is supposed to come out diving, with head and two hoofs forward. Unfortunately, Arava had two difficulties. First of all, her baby was the single largest Nigerian Dwarf baby I’ve ever seen. The second is that one of her hoofs was folded back under her.
The traditional strategy for dealing with this problem is to push the head and hooves back into the birth canal a little bit and unfold the bent hoof, sending the baby through in the proper position. But since this was actually my first mispresentation, and she was coming fast by then, I screwed up – I didn’t realize what the positioning was until the baby’s head was out and she was already breathing. At that point, you can no longer shove them back in for obvious reasons. So I had to rearrange her feet while the rest of the baby was hanging out, which can’t have been pleasant for my goat – the only consolation being that leaving her in was worse (I really, really remember that stage of birth myself, in which the only thing worse than getting on with it is not getting on with it, and thus had a profound sympathy.)
The end result was this. First, I did shit to do improve the status of the proletariat blogger being ground under the heel of management. Fortunately, my awesome colleagues handled that, and we’re totally off strike. I have not fully resolved all my own issues with Science Blogging, and I’m not sure what all my longterm strategies are, but I still think Science Blogs has the ability to help me expose a new audience to the real issues of depletion and energy constraints, and I still like it here in many ways. I think Adam Bly and Seed Media are frankly committed to doing what it takes to make this work. And more importantly, you don’t negotiate in bad faith – when you ask management to do something, and they comply, it would be bad faith to then say “I’m blowing this taco stand anyway.” So, I’m back.
Oh, and the really important end result, to me at least, was that Arava had a huge and beautiful and healthy little doe, who we named “Meadowsweet” in honor of the flowers blooming in our front yard (every year we have a theme to help us remember what generation a goat comes from – this year’s theme is flowers and herbs). She’s the most active and energetic baby we’ve had, already curious about the world and ready to play. Mother and baby are doing great. The season of babies, cuteness and motherhood has begun (and yay, I’m not giving birth to any of them – hallelujah!!!!…ok, sorry, just had to put that in!) with a bang and a conference call.