This week we began another Grand Experiment in the Penner household. Sydney will be away at Ohio State to teach from Tuesday afternoon to Friday evening each week this spring. In this, his first week on the job, he’s busy navigating the drive, new colleagues, and a massive university structure, but he made it through the first day without trouble, and I’m looking forward to hearing more about his experience as he settles in. I’m also guessing he’ll soon find his way to the library on campus–and then it will be difficult to drag him back home.
The kids and I are easing into our new schedule, since I don’t start teaching until next week. At the moment, I’m home with them in the mornings before they go to nursery at lunchtime; next week, they’ll have three full days of nursery each week, since I teach at 8 every weekday morning (Note to that student who requested on final evaluations this semester that I wear my hair down occasionally: not going to happen, lady! I’m lucky if it’s washed and put up nicely!).
We’ve had a few bumps this week: both Katherine and Nathaniel had illnesses that sent me running to David and Lisa for help so that I could take the kids to the doctor, and then Nathaniel (ahh, such a cuddler) very kindly passed his stomach bug on to me. So I’m looking forward to a night without drama in the near future, and I’m currently subsisting off apples and graham crackers (while my rather elaborate salads from earlier in the week wait patiently in the fridge). Meanwhile, the kids seem fine with having to walk everywhere we need to go; thank goodness they still remember our Oxford life, when everything required walking! They also get a lot more interested in books when the weather turns cold, so we’ve had a great time piling up to read books before bedtime. Nathaniel is slowly learning not to sit two inches in front of the book, with his head blocking the view of everyone else, so that’s made our reading time much more pleasant.
I’ve decided to double down on new things this spring: I have several writing projects due by mid-February, and I’m teaching some new, rather demanding, courses. If I manage to pull it off, I’ll get to read Moby Dick and launch a new book project this spring. If not, you’ll find me buried under a pile of doorstopper novels, desperately trying to keep up with my own reading assignments.
A student who thinks Jane Austen is a feminsist author, and another student who thinks it is appropriate to comment on how the professor wears her hair… Good grief. I hope she was joking about it!!
I always took the time to give genuine feedback about what worked and what didn’t work for me in what I hoped was a constructive way, so I was always offended when professors would tell us that they don’t bother to read our comments, but now I’m beginning to understand why that might be the case.