Week(s) of a LadyGeo

The life of a LadyGeo is, in a word, busy.

There’s research, work, teaching or fellowship obligations, research-related writing, classes, grant writing, conferences, professional organizations or other profession-related committees and activities–which you’ll need when job searching. We could measure readings, meetings, and emails in hours-days-years. So. many. emails…

There’s not much room for things to go wrong, especially outside of your research. And boy have things been going wrong in my world.

Spring 2019 has been one long slow fart of a semester.

It all started a few weeks ago, when I was preparing to give a practice job talk for my fellowship. We had given the talks once before, so this was the ‘apply your critique’ phase. My slides were pretty much ready the night before, minus a couple images that were saved to my office computer. I’d need 45 minutes–tops–the day of the presentation, just to add the images and make sure everything worked ok. No big deal, I’d have all morning!

The morning of the presentation, there was an Office 365 hostage situation. Every Office product on my computer was frozen. I couldn’t get to the pictures I needed, couldn’t edit my existing slides… nothing. IT responded quickly. Good news: the problem had a simple solution. Bad news: the solution was not quick. I hopped in a lyft (the bus would take too much now-precious time), went home, mined my external hard drive for a couple not-as-good images, adjusted my notes, and speedwalked to campus.

My office. Officially, I don’t live here. But I keep confusing my office and house keys, so…

Aaaand my presentation wouldn’t open. I had ~5 different back ups. None of them were functioning. By the time I got things to work, I was so out of sorts that there’s no telling what I said during the presentation.

Thankfully, the talk was a small thing, totally inconsequential outside the bounds of the fellowship. I canceled the rest of my day, had a beer, and let myself laugh about the whole thing.

Two hours later (literally), I received an email from the board of my professional organization. The proposals I had submitted, which had been approved every other year, were under discussion. I would have to make big changes. Changes that would bring complaints from the officers of my chapter and take up a big chunk of my time both now and a few months down the line. Changes that were wildly time sensitive. Did I have time for a phone call with the board sometime that week? Yup. Yeah. Sure. ‘Course I did.

I helplessly watched my writing and research time drift away… like a cartoon astronaut slowly slipping off into space. But it wasn’t over.

The following week, I was invited to join a field trip course. The field trip promises to be amazing. The days worth of emails and hallway conversations about my funding (and other aspects of the loosely structured course) were decidedly not amazing. Time drifted further and further away…

We’re all this busy

Then– in more or less this order–,

  • the touchpad on my laptop lost its mind,
  • my mini washing machine died,
  • Sarah and I (mostly Sarah) took on a big new project
  • the stove in my apartment stopped working.

It’s been a really long couple weeks.

Through it all, there have been a few bright spots. First and foremost, thank all-that-is-holy for some of the fabbest friends a LadyGeo could ask for. I owe them so many beers or baked goods for listening, helping, and emailing on my behalf. People underestimate how much grad school/career is a team sport.

Other bright spots:
It’s been beautifully snowy in the Midwest. I know other people are not enjoying it, but I love snow. It’s so pretty! There are actual icicles on my porch roof!

I’ve been making an effort to give myself actual weekends. I’m still working on the weekends, but I’m also making time to do fun things (and clean my house). In the past couple weeks I’ve:

  • attended a regional seed fair with my grumpiest grad/drinking buddy
  • attended a plant propagation workshop with a friend and also-plant-loving daughter.

If you’re not a gardener/aspiring bogwitch, this probably does not sound very amusing. But it was so fab! I picked up a bunch of free seeds, free plants, and am going to try my hand at some native plants this year. Très exciting.

  • met up with Sarah for delicious Waffle Iron waffles
  • attended another ladygeo’s Nailed It-themed birthday. Sarah and I got to be cake pop judges… and were then delirious from all the sugar.
  • gone out dancing. Twice! Salsa while it’s snowing outside is unexpected perfection. And getting low to regguetón with friends is sometimes exactly what I need.

And I’ve rediscovered baths! Snowy February calls for hot baths, and I’m basically a marine mammal in transport–my skin must be kept damp at all times. Whether I’m working from the tub or trying to wind down enough to fall asleep, baths have helped make the last couple weeks bearable.

If you’re looking for a moral to this story, there isn’t one. Spring 2019 is one long, slow fart and I’m just along for the ride.

Or maybe there is. The life of a LadyGeo is busy. And when things go wrong, they can really go wrong. Sometimes the difficulties are research or work related, sometimes they’re computer glitches and broken stoves–or all of the above! All you can do is send your emails, text your friends/landlord/advisor, and cling to the idea that someday the long slow fart will end.

Now if you need me, I’ll be (working) in the bath.

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