Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Grand Rounds! New Office!

This week's Grand Rounds went up this morning, although I'm only getting around to announcing it now. It's a very lively and readable edition, and I'm delighted to be included.

Gary and I spent several hours today on campus, prepping for the office move, which is now scheduled for Monday. The university movers will move furniture (including loaded filing cabinets) and boxed books, but won't move computers or phones. We have to move our own computers; we aren't supposed to touch the phones. The Secret Campus Phone Police do that, I guess. So Gary boxed up books while I schlepped portable stuff (framed posters, chairs, a set of small tables, various vases, a bulletin board) to the new office. I'd originally thought I wouldn't have the key until Monday, but the previous tenant, one of our part-time lecturers, had already vacated -- although the movers still have to haul her filing cabinet and bookcase out of there -- so I got the key today.

I'm on the same floor, but at the other end of the building. My old office was shaped like the state of Nevada, which was charming but a bit difficult to work with, furniture-wise. The new office is a boring old rectangle, which is much more practical. The old office was near several classrooms and the soda machine, which made for lots of noisy traffic. The new office is in a quiet bay occupied only by faculty. The view from my old office was slightly nicer -- I had a gorgeous view of a huge evergreen tree -- but the view from the new one is pretty, too, with a similar tree partly visible through the ivy growing around and over the window.

Desks and computer tables stay in current offices, which means I'll have to transport the contents of desk drawers on Thursday, when Gary and I should be able to finish up on our end. The furniture I'm inheriting has some dings and scratches, but on the plus side, the computer table has a very handy pullout keyboard drawer with a nifty mousepad. The previous tenant left me a nice desk chair and a great footrest for use at the computer. I only have two outlets in this office, rather than three, but I think I've figured out how to arrange the furniture so it won't matter.

The previous tenant also left behind her computer, so our admin assistant unplugged it and moved it for me so I could move my own in there, so the guy who's inheriting my office will be able to move his on Thursday. There's undoubtedly someone waiting to move into his old office: it's a giant set of dominos. Whenever an office becomes vacant -- my new one was the home of someone who retired last year -- the chair of the department goes down the list of faculty, in order of seniority, to see if anyone wants to move to another space. It usually turns into a complicated game of musical offices.

Everything's incredibly dirty, in both the old and new offices. Gary and I will undoubtedly go through several bottles of Fantastik and rolls of paper towels trying to mop up the dust, and I don't think we'll be able to get all of it.

So it was a productive day, and I'm feeling better about the move now that most of the hard work is behind us. Unpacking and decorating are fun, and shopping for a loveseat for the new space will be, too: I'm determined to have comfy seating for students during office hours, and for myself when I need to read papers between classes.

And it was fun to be on campus. When we went to the bookstore to buy more packing tape, I saw a former student who told me how much he loved Shelter, and who really seemed to mean it. Since he's one of the most talented writers I've taught, that meant a lot to me. One of our graduate students passed along a compliment from a former student of mine who's a current student of hers. I had nice chats with several colleagues.

November is still tied up in plot tangles, but when I kvetched about this to Bernie Goodman at the wedding this weekend, he said that the quickest way to get out of writer's block on one project is to start another. I just may take his advice.

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