Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Book Fetish

Carly and the kids are still at the coast, I am still teaching, so I am home alone. I have taken the opportunity to enjoy some hanging out in the coffeeshop reading. I finally finished Scar by China Meiville. Excellent, strange, compelling book. Finishing it at the coffeehouse today I felt a strange perverse sort of post coital sensation (can I say that?). I wanted the book to continue, but was perfectly satisfied with the ending. I walked to my car with a wry smile on my face.
Part of me wants to pick up Perdido Station (another one of his books), but I think I will wait a little while to let this one sink in.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Speaking of Professionalism...

Months ago, I asked payroll if I would be getting a separate paystub for my overload teaching (5th class) as usual. They said, no, they weren't doing that anymore. It would be put into my normal paycheck. Great. But I never really noticed anymore money than usual in the old accounts around 'pay day' which for overloads was mid-term and end of semester.
I figured, maybe they folded it into the biweekly paychecks.
Then for the summer, I wasn't sure if they were going to use direct deposit or old fashioned checks. So I call. They are using direct deposit but I should come down for my stubs. I do. No stubbs yet for Summer, but two from the previosu semester. I go to talk with Payroll about summer. Sure enough, they won't come out until next week. Fine. While I was there, I figured I ask about the Overload.
She doesn't know. They've changed the system for overload pay three times in two years, and no one is really sure about how to make sure it happens.
Sure enough, I wasn't paid for it. She would check on it. Today I get an email saying that HR had no record of it. I replied they could check with the Registars' office for the class, and my grades which I turned in, and forward my course load form. Sigh. I hope it will be resolved. That is supposed to pay for half the new floor.
How do you just forget to pay someone? Sigh.

BTW: I am supposed to receive a small stipend for Independent Studies ($200/student). I have done maybe 10 of them. Never once have I got that. If I am teaching the class concurrently, it isn't so big a deal to do them, so I don't make a big fuss. But, when students ask for me to teach a class that gets cancelled (like my Origins of Belief class) for low enrollment, I don't do it as Independent Studies. Burned too many times.

"Pro" Source

So we are finally getting rid of the nasty carpet in the main part of our house. It was pretty pukey when we moved in four years ago, and with chicken's vomit, two babies vomit, two babies hurling food whereever they can, and lots of foot traffic it hasn't really gotten much better. We had it cleaned a couple times, other than vacuuming, but it never looked good. We decided to go with laminate (fake wood) instead of carpet (since our kids still throw food and chicken still vomits pretty frequently).
So we fished around a bit for someone to do the install and find the right kind. We found an installer we like, and got quotes from him, compared them around. So far so good. He gives us his credentials to shop at a warehouse (non-retail store). The kid, and I use that term with the mild disgust that only one of my wizened 38 years can really muster, who was our sales person was 'super' helpful.
1. We asked to see mid-range laminate, we were hoping to spend around $2.00/sq foot or less. He led us to the Pergo (which is top of the line). And when I say 'led us', I mean 'pointed to'. 80% of Pergo runs around $5.00/sq ft.
2. When we showed signs of sticker shock, he disappeared. We found some reasonable looking other brands for closer to $3.00/sq ft. Eventually he retuend. We mentioned that our Installer said he had a special rate that we would pay, not the retail cost (true). He looked non-plussed but went to talk with a manager. He returned saying they'd give us 20% off, but had no clue whether that was our guy's rate or not.
3. So we kept looking, calculating in our minds the costs -20%. Then he comes back and reminds us that the next day was their BIG SALE, everything would be discounted. How much we asked. He said 5%, then 10%, then 15%. But he looked confused. So we asked about how that combined with the 20% off. They all add up he said. So 35% off we asked? Yes 35% off.
4. We found some we liked (mentally claculating 35% off, and brought then home, made our pick) and Carly went back today. He wasn't there, and nobody could make sense of his claim that we'd get 15%+20% off.. Sigh.. We got a total of 25%. Which is fine, we ended picking a fairly inexpensive laminate anyway, so that is fine. But, it was annoying to have a couple hundred dollars suddenly appear on the quote.

I don't think he was a car salesman dicking us around trying to squeeze a sale from us, I truly believe he was just ignorant of the prices and discounts. Which by itself it frustrating when you go a place that is totally foreign (like a wholesale place as a consumer)

What is particularly irksome about this, is the whole BIG SALE thing. When we were there, there were a handful of people sitting around, no one doing much work. The place was empty.
Now they were going to have this big sale. There were already lots of signs. They invited us back for hotdogs, beer and margheritas. Sounds like a swell time.
So I don't know, maybe during a planning meeting for this event, the four of them could have gotten together and said. Hey, here is the discount we are offering during this SALE. If a customer buys something, they get 5% off. Was that 15% off sir? No, 5%.

Is that really asking too much?

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Beep Beep Beep!

Will has taken to reading (or being read to, anyway.)
He will pick up a board book (probably that annoying 'baby animals' book), and walk towards Carly or me, then he will turn around and walk blindly backwards at us. He is intent on sitting on one of our laps... and is making it easier for us by backing into position. I want to teach him to make the 'beep - beep' sound trucks have when they go backwards. Is that wrong?

Friday, June 16, 2006

Postcard for Grandma

Here is a link to a video postcard we sent my grandmother (affectionately known to my kids as GG (great grandma). But I thought some other people might like to see it as well. Clicking on the image links to YouTube.

Monday, June 12, 2006


Having breakfast this morning, Sophie watched me drink my coffee. Then said:
"Drink it all, You will Build Yourself Up!"

So true.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Deja Vu Research Style

So... I wrote this little disertation six-seven years ago. I probably should have spent the next year culling papers from it, or trying to get the whole thing published. But I didn't. Weddings, Babies, lots of teaching, showed up. Research got put on the back burner. Time passed.
Now I am trying to get back into the research/publishing mode. So reading through several papers on Forgiveness I find that several ideas that were original to me, at the time I wrote them seven years ago, but didn't publish them, are now being written about by other writers. It makes me feel stupid. Probably a little like that guy that sold Microsoft DOS for a couple thousand bucks in the seventies.

Oh well. I was innovative once. Maybe I can be innovative again.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

There but for the Grace of... who now?

Last night we were eating dinner. About half way through, Sophie put her hands palms together and says something incomprehensible. We ask her what she is saying. She does it again: "God is Great, God is Good..."

It felt like being hit in the stomach.

Carly teaches swim lessons at the YMCA.
I teach philosophy (and religion in the Fall) at an Episcopal College.
We accept that we are in the South, and that we are exposed to this sort of thing all of the time. But somehow we assumed our children were insulated from it.
The kids spend a couple hours a day in the daycare at the YMCA (for free) while Carly teaches. It has worked pretty well up until now.

I am sure Sophie has no idea what she is doing or saying, but the thought of some Daycare person encouraging, correcting and leading MY children in this sort of thing makes me sick and furious. It is this sort of indoctrination of the youth, before they can even think to question, when they are sponges soaking up what adults tell them, and when they are most eager to please us, that infuriates me.

On the other hand, this is the Young Man's Christian Association, and the kids are going to be exposed to Supersthroughout their lives, especially so long as we are in the South. What should we expect? I guess I hoped I wouldn't have to deal with this so early in their lives. Before they could even begin to make sense of the concepts (which I maintain or fundamentally incoherent).

95% of the time, the YMCA is just a club with a pool. Carly may cringe a little when they start their meetings with a devotion (me too for faculty meetings). But, the work and play at the site is mostly just healthy fun physical activity.

I am not really concerned that saying grace before snack-time will convert my kids to Christians. Once they begin to talk about that stuff, I am pretty sure we can counter this indoctrination with some reason and education, and let the kids (when they are more mature) decide for themselves. We include the myths about Santa and the Easter bunny in their lives. We sing Christmas carols with Jeebus in the lyrics and such.
There is just something creepy about the daycare/daycamp people with their sacchrin smiles telling our impressionable children all about God and the baby jeebus.

Am I overreacting to all this?