Saturday, October 31, 2009

So freaking domestic. Also: a fount of trivia.

In the last couple days: knit a hat for a friend, a cowl for myself. Worked on a shawl I'm making. Started an adorable knitted wig, in a sort of violet/lilac color. Baked snickerdoodles, and improvised a delish' spiced chocolate almond bark.

Carved a pumpkin into an owl as per a VERY cute picture a friend shared (he came out SO CUTE!!) and cut my thumb open pretty well, during the process. Alas. I may try to post a picture of him tomorrow! (But not of my thumb.) Maybe I can get one of him alongside the adorable ratty face pumpkin best friend did (and which included dried spaghetti noodles for whiskers).

Random observation: I think the name my mother called me more than any other throughout my growing up (including my given name) was Pumpkin. (Followed closely or equalled by Sweetpea.)

We did campus things, including big big politics, talks on faculty shared governance, and senate meetings. I did work things (although there are a few I have to do tomorrow morning, because I completely missed them, today).

I picked the NaNo I'm going to write, this year (from amidst WAY too many choices). Mostly (but not entirely) unrelated to that, I did way more random internet research than is strictly reasonable, and often by whim or by popping link to link (and then wondering what path, exactly, I took to go from Rastafarian English to false etymology surrounding Caesarean sections to harime laws among the Romani to laws regulating name changes in Germany).

Before I start wondering too hard, I'm going to go to bed. But it's been a fairly bustling week!

Hope you all have a lovely Halloween! (And any and everything else you may celebrate this time of year!) LOVE!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

At least we know.

So there are still plans in the works. But as things stand, Chris has no work for Fall. He's out of a job.

Which means, if he finds a new one, we have to go to it. Which would mean I would be out of my beautiful, wonderful, beloved (but definitely-won't-sustain-us) job.

I'd finally put some roots down in this backward fucking little town, and it was growing on me, backward and fucked up though it is. I have a knitting group. I'm in a choir. I love my job. My best friend is staggering distance from my front door. The area's finally nurturing the arts, a little. My garden is growing me flowers.

And the alternative: him NOT finding a job? is a hell of a lot worse than losing/leaving all of those things.

I've been feeling pretty fucking low, I gotta' admit.

It's been a few days, now, since we found out, and the worst of the depression (aided by a bout of gloom, rain, wind, and general storminess and lack of sun and my subsequent plummeting energy and instinct for hibernation) is easing up. I let myself have my beaten, dejected few days, let myself binge on comfort food and neglect work and mope and cry, and the worst of it, at least, seems to be out of my system.

The sun came out, and I went out to sit in it. I did my work, I got shit done, I didn't kidnap leftover chicken and dumplings from Best Friend's fridge (seriously something I was considering). I'm not feeling quite so resentful when people remind me this could work out for the better, in the end - because, of course, it could.

...I had a lot more written below, about prospects and rationalizing about the worst case scenarios. But suffice it to say, I know that whatever happens, we'll roll with it. We'll hit the ground running, because it's what we do. Shitty times have always brought out the optimist in me.

We've got a lot to be grateful for.

Love to you all, and as much joy as you can hold.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Things Is Tough All Over

"But Chris is secure, right?"

I don't know how many times I've heard this, now. All summer, all through the start of the choir season, people have asked this or something similar; they've asked how we're doing, and I've told them a little about the budget crisis and the terror this inspires and the carnage already wreaked across our campus and how it doesn't make for peace of mind, or else they've heard some about it already and want to know where we fall in it. And then they want to be reassured that Chris is safe. "But he's all right, isn't he? He's pretty protected? Chris is still secure, right?"

"....No," I say, like I'm apologizing. "He's not."

Chris is a lecturer--contingent. Some systems call this "adjunct." Non-tenure-line. Not even probationary. We call it "visiting" on our campus--he's been "visiting" for 11 years, now, full time (some people call lecturers "part timers," too--often tenure-line people teaching significantly fewer courses per year than a full-time lecturer does, but I digress).

In short: no tenure. No expectation of tenure. No way to get tenure.

He does have three year contracts (the grail in the CFA collective bargaining agreements): if they've kept you for six years, when they could have simply failed to rehire you without penalty beforehand, and there are no "serious conduct issues" or records of bad performance, you're automatically rolled over into three year contracts, which have, themselves, a similar expectation of being rolled over. If you're between three year contracts, you've got a lot less protection--if there's just not work, they can essentially give you a contract for no work and no pay, without actually laying you off--but there is still some protection. There's also a layoff order, and an order of preference for work, and a lot of good structure in place to make sure the contract means something, when people start getting bumped off the ranks.

But when you've already gone through the order by department--say, this department--and have dumped absolutely everyone in the first couple of groups? When the only person left with less "preference for work" than Chris has already been reduced to part time (and he was only protected by two tenure-track profs being off on sabbatical, anyway, who are going to be back next year), and there are more cuts to come...?

(As in, apparently, SEVERE cuts to come, despite the absence of a concrete budget for the next year, in what is probably a punitive, tyrannical, never-let-a-good-crisis-go-to-waste move by people with more power than the rest of us?)

Then, no. Chris is not secure.

The BEST we can hope for, at this point, is that he only get reduced to part time, next year. But for all we know, there could be nothing, as soon as Spring. 30% (...for instance) out of 10 tenure-line and 2 and a half lecturers (or 6 tenure-line and 1 and a half lecturers, depending on what we're counting as this department for these purposes) is pretty bad odds, either way, isn't it?