16 Days and Counting…

Remember those cute blackboards I made for the kitchen?  Perfect for my countdown of teaching days…  18… 17… 16 days to go.

I decided back in January to submit my resignation right away and to use this semester to wrap things up and say my goodbyes.  For the past several weeks, that’s what I’ve been doing during my work days… slowly but surely packing up my office and saying goodbyes. (Tell me, do I really have to keep paper files? The paper copy of my dissertation?  My M.A.?  No, embrace the digital world, right?)

One thing I’ve noticed is that while the sr. faculty are fully in the know (but decline to address the issue with me) everyone jr. to me is shocked to learn I didn’t get tenure.  I don’t just mean shocked on my behalf in the sense of that’s so unfair (although I get a lot of that too).  I mean, they had no idea; the news had not reached them.

I don’t know why this surprises me or bothers me so much.  I know that my department and university are profoundly hierarchical and that decision-making is completely opaque.  But, maybe since I am slowly extricating myself from this soul-sucking atomistic culture I see more clearly how information is tightly controlled in order to control people and maintain the social order.  Since I’m on my way out, I can’t change the system, but I can break the silence by refusing to let the fact that I was denied tenure a secret.  So, I have been telling all the instructors, non-tenure track people, grad students and undergrads that I am leaving because I was denied tenure.  I’m not complaining or griping, but I am making sure it’s not a secret.

While I’ve been tying up the ends of my academic career, I’ve also been making plans for the future and making space at home.  This has mainly meant two big things: thinking hard about how we use our house and reconfiguring that space to make it fit our family in this new stage, and figuring out how to cut expenses and save money so we can afford for me not to work.

Some of the saving has been easy and fun.  We’ve been making cute hair ties instead of buying more, we have plans to upcycle one of my old sweaters into a new skirt for Big Girl, and to make floor pillows created from old pillow cases and baby blankets (posts on these activities soon!).

Other saving has been more challenging… since January I’ve been trying to cook all of the food from our freezers and pantry to use up older things and decrease our food waste.  We’ve definitely done that to some extent… but we had to eat a couple of yucky dinners in the process and we still have some odd mystery ingredients to go… including two kugels that I don’t want to eat…  The upside is that I have been doing so much cooking and baking that the girls can make banana bread, cookies, and gougieres pretty much on their own!  (Maybe a few baking posts to follow soon too?)

This week its all about our new home library!  I’ve been working hard on it and can’t wait to share pictures of the gorgeous color scheme, built-in bookshelves and fabulous floor pillows in some future posts.

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