Feb 7, 2012

Prepping for D-day

D-day. That would be next Monday, February 13th. The day I officially start back at work. Of course, it was supposed to be the 20th, since I only "stopped" working on the day I gave birth to my baby-boy (the 18th). But the red-tape department at the university and the Government of Quebec didn't quite see it that way. As far as they were concerned my original letter for maternity leave indicated I was due on the 15th, so I'd be off from the 14th. Oh well. What's a week?

In preparation for D-day, I've been spending more and more time away from home. Ostensibly to let baby-boy bond with the nanny, in ever increasin chunks of time, so that he's ready for a "full day" by next week. I haven't quite managed to convince myself to spend that time in my office (heaven forbid anyone confuses my back-to-work date), so I mostly hang out in a local coffee shop, and when I feel I've overstayed my welcome there, I switch to Starbucks.

Today, though I'm at the office. For various things. And while sitting here, several things occur to me:

(1) How lonely sitting in the office can be. Music and chocolate, and my single-portion French press not withstanding. Most of my time is spent at the computer. Meetings are full and far between. And I don't feel like "wasting" my short days on lunch dates, as my priority is to get back home to baby boy. So yes, it's a lonely job, the academic life. I have stacked up on chewing gum to avoid overconsumption of sweets (out of boredom).

(2) How little things can become big aggravators just because of red-tape. This week I had to re-apply for my work permit since our PR status won't come through in time. I had to redo the application form, all the photocopies, letters of my contribution, CV, etc, etc. I feel like I do this kind of thing about 5 times a year for various purposes both within and outside of the university. It seems like a collosal waste of time. Even more infuriating is the whole IT situation. My laptop's docking station has copped it. That means I have to plug everything in every morning (my large monitor, my printer, my LAN cable, my wireless mouse, my power). It's not a huge deal, but it's a pain. More annoying is the fact that what I really want to do is pop by the Apple store and buy an iMac from my university funding. But I have to go through the IT department to do so. Spec the thing. They'll get it wrong. It'll have to go back. The process will take 4 weeks longer than the 1 day it should take. They'll try to convince me to get a desktop. They'll stall another week on actually giving me the computer. And then they'll charge me 12% for their "service" which will get taken from my hard-earned research fund.

(3) How hard it can be to motivate myself to get out of this room. Now, in fairness, I did manage to buy a gym membership on my way in today. And I intend to use it. But not the gym's showers. So my excuse will be to do it at the end of the day, throw on my jacket and head home. Of course, that means I have to think carefully about what I eat for lunch so I have enough energy to run (to meet my 1,000 mile goal). Oh, I miss my running buddy from Michigan!!

(4) How desperately I need to update my iTunes and Nano for office music.

First-world problems, as a friend of mine would say. And so they are. Mostly, I think I just need to find a way to hit my "zone" again. What might help is that I'm attending another writing-group meeting tonight. Hoping for a fun time!

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