Thursday, October 07, 2010

Progress Report

My back's quite a bit better. I swam today, which definitely helped. I wouldn't say it's back to normal yet, but it's at 85-90 percent.

Since today wasn't a teaching day, I took it as a mental-health day and worked on knitting projects (and on swimming). I also bought some new jeans, and stopped by PetSmart to see if a lovely orange kitten Gary and I had both admired was still there. The kitten is still there, but he's a male, and we really want a female as our next cat.

Yeah, it's too soon. I know. Just a few days ago, I said to Gary, "Since I've applied for a leave next year and will be on reduced pay if I get it, we shouldn't get another cat until afterwards" (or until we find out that I haven't gotten the leave). Gary agreed. This is the sane, adult approach to the issue.

But today at the gym I kept thinking about the lovely orange kitten, and managed to convince myself that it's our sacred duty as cat lovers to have the maximum number of housecats allowed by Reno law: three. (I know many people have more, and I don't know if the law's enforced very stringently, but obeying this particular law is a convenient way for us to limit the number of cats in the house.) My sister laughed pretty hard when I explained the reasoning behind my about-face. I've now done another about-face and am back to sane, adult reasoning, which will last until the next time I'm within a mile of PetSmart, which won't take very long because it's only 1.4 miles away.

Must not get new kitten yet. Too expensive going into possible leave year. Unfair to other cats, still rattled by Harley's departure. Unfair to humans rattled by Harley's departure.


If a female Maine Coon lookalike shows up, we're goners.

As mental-health days go, it was a bit wacky, as you can see. It got wackier an hour ago when I sat down to sort through the piles of grading I have to do. Oh, yes, and committee work, and recommendation letters, and my own writing. I wound up panicking about the fact that I'd taken a day off.

It will all get done -- it always does -- and I'll even enjoy the piles of grading when I get down to them. (And I'll be more efficient for having taken a rest day, right?) But I keep thinking about a letter I saw in the paper last week, from somebody arguing that the higher education budget should be slashed even further because whenever he goes to the university on a Friday afternoon, most of the classrooms are empty, and therefore the professors aren't working a forty-hour week.

Who are these people who think we're only working when we're in the classroom? Have they heard of prep, grading, research, writing, committee work, course design, and supervision of graduate students? (I'm sure I'm leaving something out.) This is like saying that lawyers aren't working unless they're in court, because all the time they spend taking depositions and writing briefs doesn't count, or that athletes aren't working unless they're on the field competing, because practice and training don't count. Most of my work takes place outside the classroom, just as most of my students' does.

It scares me how many people don't understand this.

A kitten would understand.

Must not get new kitten yet.



  1. Pet ownership has nothing to do with being sane and adult. People who complain about teachers not putting in their hours are neither sane nor adult. Back pain from stress in your life has nothing to do with being sane or adult. BEING sane and adult is highly commendable but not very much fun. Wouldn't it be nice if we could all just BE?

  2. hey! i got me a library card so i can borrow one of your books!

    my town doesn't have a library (!), so there's some paperwork and stuff and because the state considers public libraries to be a basic service, the charge for my library card ($35!) will be reimbursed by my town.

    it turns out they have to get anything by you through interlibrary loan, but i figure if we're going to have even THIS much of a friendship, i ought to read what you've published.

    or some of it, you know?

    anyway, now i have a library card. and it turns out that even though our small town libraries are not in and of themselves amazing repositories of literature, taken together (because a card at ONE public library within forty or so miles of where i live is a card to ALL of them) they offer an astounding array of services way beyond books, which i find kind of amazing.

    i mean, i knew about a lot of library services and was not surprised at rhumba lessons, but did not expect the museum admissions nor the state parks passes.

    i also did not expect to be able to download audio books, either.

    like, wow.

    so. all because i wanted to read one of your books.

    and i continue to hold you in prayers.

  3. Anonymous8:39 AM

    Dear Susan,

    Glad to hear you're feeling so much better so soon!


  4. Wait for the kitten, waaaaaaiiiiiit for it :)

  5. Not to be an enabler or anything, but you can have up to seven cats, per Washoe County Code (55.420). After 7, you need to have a cattery license. :-) Danielle


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