i-9dc84d4d9156dccb30d5f62466b4219a-swblocks.jpgEarlier this week, I thought that it would be a great idea to nip over to a local field site and get some work done. Wednesday seemed like the perfect day. The mere fact that I am only now getting a chance to write this should indicate that ideas and reality don’t always mesh.

10. Your laptop will get infected by a virus (called XP 2008 Antivirus) on Tuesday afternoon, leaving you sans computer for two days. (You’ll also have to reinstall all your programs and files once you get it back.)

9. Your dean will insist on scheduling a mid-morning meeting on Wednesday – and then fail to show up. This will leave you with only a 1/2 day to get the work done.

8. The forecast of potential hazardous weather a few days in the future will also make you wary to install expensive field equipment, cutting in 1/2 the amount of work you can do anyway.

7. The weather on Wednesday will be the hottest and worst air quality of the entire week.

6. You’ll go into the field anyway and have a perfectly nice time. Arriving home exhausted and sweaty, you will still need to get
a) pick your child up from daycare
b) pick dinner up from the grocery store
c) make it through child’s dinner, bath, and bedtime routine
d) prepare your 90 minute lecture for the next morning (without use of the computer too…)

5. When you arrive on campus the next day, the departmental photocopier will be broken. So the fact that you’ve managed to quickly find 3 images that you would like to use as overheads, (to supplement an entirely chalk-board lecture), you won’t be able to do so until 5 minutes before class time.

4. You will spend all day Thursday meeting with students and frantically prepping your Friday class and ignoring the ever accumulating pile of emails in your inbox. (I swear that people sent more emails on Wednesday than any other day this week – and they all expected replies right away.)

3. You won’t have time to analyze the samples you collected anyways.

2. You’ll just have to go in the field again on Friday afternoon to finish the other half of the field work because the weather forecast is looking better again.

1. In the midst of this, you’ll fall hopelessly behind on all your favorite blogs, your desk will disappear under a mountain of paper, and 3 days of dishes will accumulate in your sink.

But the field area was really quite lovely. I’m looking forward to visiting it again this afternoon – but then not for another couple of weeks. Whew.


  1. #1 Mimi
    September 5, 2008

    This sounds dreadful. We must have the same weather affecting us. I think it just reaches me first. I was ready to go collect samples on Wednesday and the water was gross and the rain was horrendous. The wind was the worst of it. I hope everything gets back to normal soon for you. We all miss your random postings throughout the day!

  2. #2 Lisa
    September 5, 2008

    If you have an extra bedroom , have you thought of an au pair instead of daycare? I say this not because I think an au pair is the answer to all your problems, but I really want to know if you have considered it because we are thinking of getting in one or two years when we have another baby. They are a bit more expensive than daycare for 1 child, but less expensive than 2 children, and less expensive than a nanny. They live in your house and are here from another country for cultural exchange and provide up to 45 hours of childcare per week. It seems like you could work out a flexible arrangement, like taking a long Wednesday and a shorter Friday one week. And there’s no picking up/dropping off.
    Good luck with the weather!

  3. #3 hypoglycemiagirl
    September 5, 2008

    I think nr 9 sounds most annoying of all those points. Not that I would ever actually consider calling 6a and c annoying.

    And by the way, we’re all out here cheering for you and it will take a significantly longer hiatus than one day sans posts for us to forget about you!

  4. #4 Randy
    September 5, 2008

    10) your IT should have been able to remove that virus without wiping your system and requiring reinstalls of everything. they were lazy.
    9) tell Dean NO!!!
    8 and 7) Pray to God for better weather (not a popular idea on science blogs and maybe worthless, but at least you get someone to blame)

    6) think about the au pair, but I know current operating conditions at home are less than desirable for that

    5) chalk talks can be fun… young profs tend to get carried away with providing too much info anyway… so think about simplfying…your students will forget most of it anyway. Think like a K-12 teacher…think goals not information transferred

    4) yeah, copiers suck…ask for doc cams in rooms (they suck too, but what can you do)

    3 and 2) hey, you know you like the field

    1) blogs are just a waste of time anyway…..just kidding

    and finally, your last sentence….the field is lovely, thats what got you excited in the first place.

    good luck.

  5. #5 DrA
    September 5, 2008

    Get your priorities straight. Everything is a higher priority than a dean. No matter who calls a meeting during field season, I just say, sorry, can’t make it. This is a good lesson for chairs and deans who seldom are field biologists. It came as a surprise to one of our VPs who wanted to shut down the whole campus in late December that organisms don’t take holidays.

  6. #6 Alice
    September 5, 2008

    Booo! Sounds like it may have been a wash… so sorry. 🙁

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