Monday, February 27, 2006

Explosion - Round 2

I could literally cut and paste last Monday's posting about Isabel's explosion... seriously. Almost same timeline and everything. So, scroll down to that entry and imagine that it happened, again.

Enough said.

Whose Job Comes First?

As I eluded to in the previous post, Laura had so many people begging her to come back to her job. And if she were able to, I am convinced she'd be a prominent music educator in that state. It really sucks, because I want that for her. I love watching her succeed with her students. I still listen to her women's chorus performance at the state music educator's conference last January (a very big deal). So, where does that leave me?? Well, I wouldn't mind moving back at all. The problem is - there' s no job for me. My field is Ag Ed, which means there are very few universities in each state that have that program. In Missouri, there are 4 programs and the only one that's large enough to have more than one person is MU - the land grant university (which traditionally, land grants are "research extensive" university, which serve as a state "flagship" and, oh yeah, pays better). I don't foresee anyone leaving MU anytime soon, nor do I see them adding a tenure track position anytime soon. So, I would have to find a job that wouldn't utilize the 3 years of training and thousands of dollars of debt we incurred. Plus, if I wanted to break back into the profession with a tenure track position, it would be difficult - VERY difficult. Whereas, there are choir positions everywhere which gives Laura the opportunity to find something similar that she would have in Jeff City. But, that's no guarantee - at all. It really sucks because we both want to be so good in our professions. I want to give this opportunity to her so badly but, in the process, it makes me nervous that my ambition in a job I was designed for would make me miserable. What do we do?

There are some other variables in this mess, and if I had to bet money, I'm guessing we're not going anywhere. But, it still doesn't make everything all right, does it???

Road Trip!

We took a little road trip from Thursday to Sunday to Missouri so we could visit friends and so Laura could go see the high school musical where she taught (Jeff City, MO). For a while, I was NOT looking forward to the trip. I was nervous about Isabel and how she'd do on a 7 to 8 hour car ride. Once those nerves subsides, I was nervous about being away from work for two days. I had a busy month with a research conference, faculty search, and student teacher visits that things kept piling up on me. Finally, I tried to use my time effectively and efficiently and dug my way through most of my work. It was Wednesday, and I was excited to see Columbia, our former neighbors who were GREAT friends, friends from MU, and to see Laura excited around her former students again. Thursday rolled around and a persistent morning sore throat persisted past the morning and then some. I didn't feel well at all. I was tired and it was hard to swallow. I had a low-grade fever - so great, three out of three sick in February!

Well, to make a long story short, Isabel was GREAT!! We only had to stop once on the trip there and once on the trip back!! She was great around people, too. She was happy and playful and friendly. Her thumbs down moments were at night. She didn't sleep well until Saturday night. Other than that - great!!

Laura got to see her former students and I think it made her miss her job even more. It didn't help that there's drama surrounding her former program right now. Her old teaching partner has some things to deal with and her replacement is in an impossible position. So, when Laura shows up, parents and students are begging her (and me) to move back to Missouri. Needless to say, it was the rejuvenating weekend I was hoping for, for Laura.

As for me, I went to urgent care on Friday morning and was told I wasn't contagious. The doctor thought it was just my drainage causing some infection. I got a prescription and we continued with plans. I really enjoyed being back at MU - I forgot how "homey" the old office was and how much I enjoyed hanging around those folks. By that evening, I had a higher fever, which broke quickly. Saturday, I was still tired but feeling better and Sunday was similar. We came home last night and I checked out the back of my throat - WHITE SPOTS. Not good. This morning, I checked it out with the doctor. They took a throat culture and gave me stronger antibiotics. We'll see what this is about, I guess.

Monday, February 20, 2006

My Daughter Exploded

Seriously, she did. I was cleaning the kitchen while Isabel was sitting in her high chair. I knew she had pushed something out, but she seemed content. So, I finished cleaning, picked her up and whisked her upstairs for a diaper change. I put Isabel on the changing table and noticed my sweatshirt was wet... and it wasn't pee. When I looked down her pants were soaked - again, not pee. As I start to unravel the mystery (and yelling for Laura to help) I saw what was the consistency of very, very fine cole slaw - and it was yellow-ish green. Conveniently, Laura had to leave for choir practice, so I was stuck with the duty (and the doody). I was raised on a pig farm and even I thought this was foul.

The good news of the day is that Isabel's doctor said her infection is going away and that she seemed on the uphill swing. I can't wait to stop giving her antibiotics - I am certain this is causing the toxic waste we've been experiencing.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

She's Feeling Better, We Think

Isabel's general disposition has improved. She's been happier - like her old self. She hasn't been sleeping the best, but for now, we're attributing to the fact that she's been pooping every 3 hours due to the medication. Today, she's been kind of sleepy. It makes us nervous, but she has a follow-up appointment tomorrow, so hopefully the doctor will tell us she's doing fine. We have a trip this week and we definitely don't want a sick child, nor do we want her to relapse.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

The Ear Infection from Hell

Work has been stressful, I have to admit. I'm playing catch-up amidst some drama going on. But the persistent drama is the on involving Isabel, who has not been able to shake her ear infection.

She's been good and her teeth have been coming in, then BAM! A fever popped up yesterday. So, Laura took her to the doctor and found out that her ear situation has not improved. So, now what? She had shots yesterday evening and shots again today from her normal pediatrician. She has now been conditioned to hate "instruments" at the doctors office. She screams at tongue depressors, stethoscope, you name it. So great, the need for therapy begins.

Isabel goes back on Monday for a check up and possibly more shots. We'll let you know when we find something out!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Prof By Day, Prof By Night, and then there's Dad

I really enjoy teaching my Tuesday night class. I find teaching Research Methods to be a challenge. Unfortunately, to a group of educators (both formal and nonformal), such a class isn't so exciting, nor is the "practical" use of such a class so apparent. My victory comes in "a-ha" moments, when they understand how science really works and when they make connections to their lives.

However... teaching night classes means late nights for both Laura and I. It's like we're both on the job full blast until 7:30 or 8:00PM. It's crazy. I really feel like I skimp out on dad duties when I'm not home at a descent hour. It's better than last semester - I had 2 night classes and that was not fun. When I was in grad school, I had a more flexible schedule (not that my department chair isn't great about flexibility). But, expectations are different. Night classes, as unfun as the timing can be, were not as big of a deal. The other BIG piece to that puzzle, too, is that we didn't have Isabel.

Summertime, here we come!

Monday, February 13, 2006

And They Come in Pairs

First off, as I type this, I am watching my daughter about topple over in her Baby Einstein seat, watching a Baby Einstein video. I am convinced there's something subliminal going on with those videos. Toddler captivity is NOT that easy. But, I enjoy my time alone with her. Laura is off at choir rehearsal, so this gives me and "the Iz" some dad and daughter time. And as I type this, I do a believe a poop occured.

More importantly, Isabel's fourth tooth (first two on bottom, third on top) is coming in the top to provide a nice pair for #3. And she seems to be in a little better mood today. She's still a bit cranky, but not as bad as yesterday.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Another Tooth

After much frustration today (and last night), the verdict is in... Isabel has another tooth coming in the top. This makes her third tooth (first two on the bottom). Her grumpy night, mixed with a very snotty (and also grumpy) day can now be explained outside of the confines of an ear infection. There's almost a sense of relief about the situation. And there's an overarching theme of excitement in that Isabel is hitting another milestone in her life. :)

A Little Consistency, Please

Okay, I know she's been sick, but when will Isabel evolve into a full-night sleeper? Seriously, folks. It seems like every other baby around her age has been sleeping through the night for months now. She's had a week here and there where she's been pretty good. Sometimes, it's only once at 5:00AM. Isabel does so well in every other department. She's on a bit ahead on her physical development, with some of her weird quirks (like randomly toss her head from side to side), we question the cognitive development, but in all seriousness she's definitely on track, if not ahead. She goes to other people fairly well, is only somewhat attached to mom, and does a lot of smiling and laughing. All the pieces are in place EXCEPT the sleep piece. Again, I may be ranting when others have it worse, but why have a blog if I can't talk about this stuff, right?!?

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Sick Girls

Both my daughter and wife are sick... at least today they're in better spirits. My wife (Laura) and I just got back from Orlando on Wednesday. My daughter (Isabel) stayed with my parents while we were gone - she had also JUST gotten over an ear infection and virus or so we thought. On Thursday, I was at work playing catch for being gone to Orlando, an additional conference two days before that, and a few days with a faculty candidate. By 1:30pm, Laura had called to say she was so sick that she could take care of Isabel. I tied up loose ends and went home to find that Laura was really sick and Isabel had a temperature - again. So, I went into "Super Dad" and caretaker mode. I took Laura to the doctor at 3:30pm, dropped off her prescription, took her home, took Isabel to her appointment at 5:00pm, then dropped off her prescription and picked up Laura's, got home, tried to catch up on work, went back out at 7:30pm with Isabel to pick up her medicine, came home, gave Isabel her medicine, gave her a bath, and put her to bed. In all this, Laura knew I HAD to be at work the next day for the important Search Committee meeting, so she called her mom who drove 2.5 hours to help out. Now, back to the story. I sat down to work again when through the monitor, I heard a wet sound like water. Isabel had vomited ALL OVER her bed. She's about 9 months old - that's a lot of vomit for such a small girl. Laura's mom showed up soon after and helped me out. I REALLY NEEDED IT! We got Isabel and the bed cleaned up, put Isabel back down to sleep and I spent another hour working before I went to bed - on the couch. Laura's doctors thought she had strep throat and she was in a contagious period. I didn't want to take any chances.

I know, I know... poor me. But it was stressful with everything going on. The next day, the Search Committee meeting had drained me (it was long and taxing). By the time I got home, I was beat. I ran to the grocery and picked up new medicine for Isabel (she puked again - we linked it to the first medicine). That night, I got a bit snappy with Laura. I really had no more resources to give. I apologized shortly after. I can be a real baby when I'm sick, but when I had two sick people to care for and a job to stay on top of - it was draining. I'm sure others are in worse situations than I - it was a new situation for me.

Today (Saturday) they're both doing much better and Laura has been helping out (partially because she hasn't been able to hold Isabel for a few days). We have been LAZY and it's awesome. I'm hoping to do the same thing tomorrow.

Search Committee

Here's one of the "prof" things I can talk about - somewhat. For anyone in the academe who has done a search for a new faculty member, you probably already know how annoying the process is for hiring a new professor. When I applied for my position, I was annoyed about how long it takes from job posting to decision (about 3 months if you're on the ball). Now that I'm on this side, it can be just as annoying or worse, especially when you're waiting on someone to decide if they're taking the job or not. So, needless to say, I'm on pins and needles until we have someone signed on for next year. My colleague Robin and I are pulling the program together - and not doing too bad if I do say so (we're both untenured Assistant Professors). We can't wait to have a third person on board! I'm sure I'll be writing about this more as the drama unfolds.

Here Goes Nothing!

I've always wanted to start a journal. I have friends who have started blogs, a friend/colleague who has a written journal going back many years, and recently my wife, who is now starting to blog. So, I thought with my combination of "I really want to journal" with "I'm a techno geek," well, I thought it may be a good match.

You may not see too many details about my "prof by day" part, as a majority of my appointment as an Assistant Professor is teaching and working with students. Concerns about confidentiality or something. :) But, what you will see is definitely the dad part and how the dad part and the prof part interact.