Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Snapshots and snippets

There are moments when time drags. Seconds creep slowly by at a rate that could drive one crazy. Then there are moments where you dare not to blink because of what is happening. For me, the last two weeks have fallen into this category. And though I could write many micro-posts about each, I figured an update in snippet form would be more appropriate.

6 am, Thursday December 4th:
Grey and I wake to do the usual morning routine. Once the Beats are settled in with their morning bottles, I open my email. The first message that hits me is from the director of our daycare. Subject line "we will be closed, due to an accident at the building."


Email sparks internet search, which results in both Grey and I looking at one another in disbelief. Disbelief because we learn that a stolen car has been crashed into our daycare, smashing the very rooms the Beats and their classmates occupy. Thankfully all this happened at 2:15 am and no one was hurt, including the auto-thieves who escape on foot.

Mass text messaging ensues. Grey and I decide to split the day. We hold the Beats close, reflecting on how bad this could have been.

12:40 pm,  Thursday December 4th:
Last lecture for my course completed. Students have been given a take-home exam. Where previously there was excitement is now concern that I have written something that is impossible to complete. I assure them that it is very doable, but want them to work in groups to complete the exam. This clearly isn't what they have in mind.

10 am, Tuesday December 9th:
Meeting with one of the top STEM educators in the Seattle area who Grey now refers to as DRB. I've been bouncing off the walls for the past 48 hrs and clearly am driving Grey nuts (though he is amused too). Somehow I manage to calm myself to prepare.

DRB is amazing. Funny, smart, thoughtful and clearly 2-3 steps ahead of me. As we prepare tea, it is clear she is already trying to get an assessment of my goals and interests. She makes note of resources and people who I should get into contact with. She tells me that though she doesn't have anything at the moment with her team, she is thinking about the future and what is coming down the pipe. We talk about her work, how she got into STEM education research, her path and the importance of knowing when to transition and grow.

I spend the rest of the day buzzing from the meeting. I'm filled with hope. Grey teases me about my new crush.

3:15 pm, Thursday December 11th:
Finishing grading final exams and working on my final grade sheet. Get an email from E, my potential postdoc adviser in Boston, about the results of a recent grant application. "I can't even" she says before the forwarded message.

Find out that the review panel has decided this a worthy proposal that should be funded. But it will not be funded as there is currently no money. Options are to either accept rejection and resubmit (which take another 6 months for review) or to hang on and hope additional funds come through.

Email Grey asking how this is even possible? He points me to articles that talk about how decline in funding is causing a decline in US educational system. "People care more about apps than biomedical research."

E makes decision to wait to see if funding will come through. We chat about career choices and the future. Both of us are clearly discouraged.

8 pm, Monday December 15th:
Grey and I are exploring other childcare options. Though we adore the staff at our daycare, a combination of lack-of-space due to my schedule switching and the realities of how unsafe the location is is prompting us to look into hiring a nanny. Our meeting goes well with this potential nanny, who seems very qualified.

We're both nervous, though. It took us awhile to become comfortable with our current situation and we are concern about how changing childcare will impact the Beats. Is this really the best decision? Will this work out? Many questions to answer and research to pursue. I'm learning that there are situations where I really hate change.

8:30 am, Tuesday December 16th:
It's been a hard weekend. Grading finished and final grades have been submitted. I feel very beaten up after receiving a number of panicked emails from students about final grades. Many are upset and are now trying to figure out where they lost points. Some are pleading for a grade changes. These same students have evaded intervention all quarter.

I feel sick with having to respond and tell them that grades are final. Seeing the emails reminds me of grief and all that I experienced. I feel responsible for causing this panic and pain. Even though I can easily outline how points were earned and distributed. Though I was clear from the beginning about expectations. I'm left sympathizing and apologizing, wondering if I should have chased more of them down and warning them of the pending consequences.

All while I'm preparing for next quarter....


  1. Phew, that's a lot of changes - I get why it's been an overwhelming week!
    FWIW, I pulled our kids from daycare about 9 months ago and we have an in-home Nanny now, and it's the best change we've ever done for our kids. She is FANTASTIC with them & teaches them so much. I hope you find someone just like her!

  2. Wow sounds like a really strestful couple of weeks! I hope things settle down for you over the holidays

  3. Ugh. You shouldn't have to chase down grown adults and warn them that they need to work harder to get a better grade on your course. You're a kind person for having sympathy for them, but for your own sanity you need to stop worrying about them. They made their own beds. Maybe a harsh wake up call is what some of them need right now. You're not doing anyone any favours by going easy on them.

  4. (((HUGS))) That's a lot to be going through...especially so close to the holidays. I really hope that you have a nice break soon and can take a deep breath. No matter what, I'm sure that the Beats and your family will be just fine!! Sending lots of love!

  5. Wow that is a scary thing! I'm so glad it happened when the building was empty. I hope things calm down for you soon!


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