Friday, May 30, 2008

End of May Update

It’s been two weeks since my last post, and I’ve been wanting to write the whole time. Between teaching and having a newborn, however, it’s tough to find the time. I’ve been wanting to write about some of the books I’ve read lately, both good and very mediocre, and after seeing it for the first time tonight, I am very eager to write about the catastrophe that is the film Happy Feet. Alas, I will have to wait on these things because, rather than writing a lengthy post, I should be sleeping. Rare is the morning that part of me isn’t ready to burst into tears at the thought of getting up.

Instead of getting into something very detailed, I will just say that life is on the whole going quite well. It’s hard to fathom that in two-and-a-half months, I’ll be living in Tallahassee. And for a minimum of four years! Seriously, that’s mind blowing. And stressful. But I whine about my stresses all too often, so let me eschew that for the time being.

The other day, I had a student, Maximilian*, who planned on meeting with me. I was waiting in my “office” in the philosophy department, and while I waited, I was looking up information about Tallahassee online. I thought to myself, “You should ask Maximilian if he’s ever been to Tallahassee. On the off chance that he has been, maybe he can tell you something about it.” Well, I didn’t ask Maximilian about Tallahassee, but he happened to ask if I was about to start my Ph.D. program. I told him I was going to start my Ph.D. program in the fall at Florida State University. So Maximilian says, “Oh really? I lived in Tallahassee for 9 years**!” I told Maximilian I wouldn’t mind bothering him with questions about Tallahassee at some point, and he was very receptive of that. He even offered to draw*** me a map of Tallahassee and go over it with me sometime. Pretty cool, eh?

By Tuesday, final exams for Junemester**** will be over. I hope I can write less***** frequently at that time, but really I should be working on my Lexus******. We’ll smell*******.

* Name has been changed to protect the student’s anonymity (and perhaps anatomy). Speaking of which, why don’t they ever use fun names like Maximilian when they change names to protect a person’s identity? Why say something boring like Bob?

**Number of years has been changed to protect the student’s anonymity. The actual number of years he lived in Tallahassee is 10.

***Verb has been changed to protect the student’s anonymity. He really said he would give me a map. He has no plans to draw it himself.

****Name of semester has been changed to protect the anonymity of all of my students. It’s really called Maymester.

*****Adverb has been changed to protect my antipathy. I really meant “more.”

******Noun has been changed to protect my animosity. I’m really talking about my master’s thesis.

*******Verb has been changed to protect my continuity. I really meant “see.”

Friday, May 16, 2008

Potpourri No. 21 – AKA The Right Stuff

There are many reasons to rejoice this week. Here are some of them.

  • Things are going well with Peter. Overall, he seems to be a pretty calm kid. That’s good. And Eddie’s handling him better than I expected. He seems to have genuine affection for his new little brother, which is wonderful.
  • My niece finally had her baby girl. Congrats!
  • Melanie’s parents have been staying with us since last Saturday. In addition to seeing their new grandson, they have been doing tremendous things to help us out. And Eddie’s really enjoyed having them around, too. It’ll be sad when they leave us (just 15 hours from now).
  • Two of Melanie’s brothers also visited us this week, including her brother who recently had a baby of his own. (His wife and brand new daughter were also here, so we’ve been really spoiled with seeing family.)
  • Speaking of family, I’ve received a couple of nice checks from Uncle Sam this week. Those will come in very handy. Thanks, Uncle!
  • I’ve had a huge weight taken off my shoulders when it comes to writing my thesis. For the past several months, I’ve been planning on graduating from Georgia State in August. In order to do this, I would have to meet a series of deadlines that correspond to various stages of thesis completion. The first big deadline was May 15th. I was not prepared for this deadline. However, I did some research and found out that, even if I don’t officially graduate this summer, I can start school at Florida State in August without any problems. So, instead of aiming for an August graduation date from Georgia State, I am going to receive my degree in December. This won’t matter much, because I’ll still finish my thesis and defend it by mid-August, so it will be out of the way before I ever get to FSU. It’s just that I won’t have to meet the summer graduation deadlines. This makes things just a tad less stressful!
  • I started teaching what has been dubbed “Maymester” at Georgia State University. Similar mini-semesters also exist at other schools, but I’ve never heard the “Maymester” term before going to GSU. Anyway, it’s one of those intensive, three-and-a-half-week courses that allows motivated students to cruise through a class at super-speed and be done with it in just over one-fourth of the time (week-wise) it takes to complete a course during a normal semester. So, why rejoice? Well, I just finished teaching my first week of it, and to be quite honest, it hasn’t been that bad at all. It actually feels very stress-free at the moment. I think it doesn’t feel that bad because last semester, I taught three classes in a row, and so this is actually less time teaching per day and I have significantly less students to deal with. In fact, because it’s an intensive course, I think I have a higher percentage of highly-motivated students than would be expected during a normal semester. So it’s working out nicely, and even though I feel like I’ve just started doing it, I’m already a third of the way done with the semester! I only have to go 11 more times, and three of those times I will not be lecturing. (For example, this Monday is the midterm. The midterm!) Now that I’m not so worried about cramming my thesis on top of my teaching responsibilities, I feel quite giddy about teaching. It’s a good way to earn some quick cash for the rest of the summer, when I will be drowning in thesis work.
  • I heard the new New Kids on the Block single the other day. Okay, I admit, this isn’t something to rejoice about, but it was somewhat amusing to hear it and that put me in a good mood. The song itself is only modestly catchy, and the lyrics are pretty bad. I’m not convinced that the NKOTB reunion is somehow bettering our world, but I would have wanted to hear their new stuff at some point, just out of morbid curiosity. So at least I’ve accomplished that small task.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Family of Four

Peter joined the family on Friday, May 2nd at 2:44 p.m. Melanie was originally scheduled for an induction today, Monday, May 5th (we’ve always dreamed of a Cinco de Mayo baby*), but her ripe little (or should I say, not so little!) cervix just couldn’t wait. Just like with Eddie, Melanie’s birth canal was rearing to go and it was questionable whether we’d even make it to the scheduled induction. Unlike with Eddie, we didn’t make it after all.

So, now I’m officially the father in a family of four. What the pfargtl?!? Even though I don’t feel too much in shock (yet) with Peter here, saying things like “family of four” and “I have two kids” and “my children / sons / boys” makes my brain stumble a bit. I can’t believe those phrases have application in my life. It’s bizarre!

The chances of me writing very frequently now that Peter’s on the scene are next to nil (at least for a while), but perhaps I’ll be able to drop brief lines or post a picture here and there. Speaking of which, here is a picture of my family …

Could I be any more blessed? I’m one happy man!

*Yes, I was being sarcastic about Cinco de Mayo