A tale of two weeks: week 1

*Whew.* I have been slammed down by work and life, absolutely no room for blogging. Today I get a breather, and so you get an update.

Week of March 10-19
My spring break started out pretty well. Monday I had a phone conference with people I am co-authoring a paper with for the Frontiers in Education conference – the paper was due on March 24. I had lunch with my husband. I caught up on email and, because it was spring break and other people were actually taking time off (a good thing) most of the email questions didn’t come back. I bought my plane ticket to the Engineering, Social Justice and Peace conference. I even read part of a book that I hadn’t had time to pick up yet. I felt productive and rockstarish.

Tuesday, however, I got an email from a granting officer about a grant we submitted last fall. I guess this is good, as we had gotten enough good reviews from the panel to make it worthwhile to ask us questions, but the program officer wanted a response by the following Wednesday, and everyone (including me) was on spring break and scattered. I got into manic mode, called the program officer for an extension, emailed the grant team, and spent the next few hours calling and emailing people back and forth about a plan. We set a meeting for the week after break, and started developing responses to the questions. I worked on a bunch of materials for graduate recruiting, sent them off, followed up on meetings, set up Google Docs to solicit new ideas from various areas and so on. Not quite so rockstarish, but still doing okay.

Wednesday I saw my therapist (always a good thing, like Dar says), and played with some small friends – we had a picnic, even though it was 40ºF and windy, and the day was lovely. I even got some cleaning done for my parents’ impending visit. Felt guilty about not doing enough work, but as it was a nice day, I didn’t feel too bad.

Thursday I start to panic. I should have been working on a bunch of IRB protocols, on a paper that I got comments from a colleague on, my recruiting trips were falling through as my contact at one school wasn’t going to be there when I had bought my ticket on Monday (combining conference and recruiting), and my parents were coming tomorrow and the house still was a mess.

Friday I got into manic mode. I shopped for food, cleaned, cooked, did laundry, and was more or less ready by the time my parents arrived about 3 pm. Whenever they come, I cook lots and my dad does lots of repairs on the house, so when they arrived, I set out tea and my dad started hunting for things to fix. The smoke detector in the dining room, the front door threshold, the lock, the garage door paint, the unfinished paint stripping, and so on. We had dinner and dessert and a quiet evening, in preparation of a serious weekend of home improvement. Some of us sleep on an air mattress, borrowed from the family of the small friends of Wednesday. We decide it is better than camping.

Saturday and Sunday we spent stripping the kitchen floor. Some photos in memoriam. Of course, we had to move the fridge and stove out, and then I couldn’t cook for two days, so there was a lot of rather expensive eating out. And we couldn’t do the dishes except in the small bathroom sink. And our house really isn’t big enough to be able to not use the kitchen, as it’s a third of the house!

However, the floor does look very nice now:

It was very trying. More about week two later – I gotta get some work done.


  1. #1 ScienceWoman
    March 26, 2008

    The floor looks beautiful, and it sounds like you had a very productive spring break. I wouldn’t feel bad about a minute of it. One thing I am struggling with (and it sounds like you are too) is figuring out what is a reasonable amount of work to expect to get done for a given amount of time. That and reminding myself that sometimes it’s OK not to work.

  2. #2 Zuska
    March 27, 2008

    Hey, i love that Dar tune, too!
    What a week.

  3. #3 Katie
    March 27, 2008

    Wow – Your floor looks amazing! Wish I had time over spring break to do house work….but I lead a fieldtrip that was fun, but totally exhausting.

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