Day: May 15, 2018


Hi everyone and sorry, for I have been a delinquent academic blogger.

I spend too much time farting around on Twitter (not the academic one, the flash-fiction one) and it’s been great fun. It does sink up quite a bit of time, though.

Considering that my love for the job is below lifetime average, it’s kind of funny that I am getting good funding news. I submitted four single-PI grants this academic year; right now, one declined automatically after four months pending on account of review still ongoing when the new broad agency announcement came out; one was funded last week; one is likely to be funded as I got reviews an an opportunity to respond; one is still pending. Not too shabby! I also have one that started last year.

Which means I will likely be nice and well funded if I want to take a sabbatical the academic year after next (2019-20). This will be year eight since my last sabbatical, which I spent caring for a newborn, writing what would become my bread-and-butter renewable grant, and organizing a major conference in the city, so no, no rest or recuperation. This time around, I will at least be able to sleep, and I would like to go to the UK and maybe Germany for a few months. I could have taken sabbatical this coming year, but this coming year is one of big transitions (Eldest starting college, Middle Boy starting middle school; also new students coming in as the old crop graduated) so I decided to wait and I think the decision was a good one.

At my university, every seven years we are entitled to either 1 semester at full pay every or 2 semesters (must be in one academic year) at 65% pay (I think this last percentage might vary a bit by college, but I am not sure).

The question is: do I take a full year at 65% salary or one semester at full salary? 65% salary will be tight but probably manageable if we’re a bit careful and I will have a nearly fully funded summer. The fuckin’ mortgage is, as always, the most gargantuan expense. Apart from that, we have a kid in college. I think we will be OK but 35% is a substantial salary cut for the primary earner in the household. (DH and I left grad school with debt because we had no savings going in (on account of having originated from Godforsakia) and then we had a kid in grad school and very low stipends and Augmentin hadn’t gone generic yet and the kid had recurrent ear infections… Anyway, we’re fine now, but we don’t have giant safety cushions that some people have at our age, in part because we opted for slower paying off of everything and a slower general savings rate in order to buy a house sooner rather than later. We already paid $300k post tax for daycare for three kids (five years of daycare costs ~$100k per kid). And we plan to fund everyone’s college. We also didn’t prioritize saving to the extent that it would eliminate all vacations and fun and various activities for the kids, which is what some frugal people do; our attitude is that kids are only little while they are little. Anyway, this is just to preempt people from scolding us why we aren’t flush and why I can’t just drop over 1/3 of my 9-month salary without thinking about the finances. (If I go to Europe for any length of time, I will apply for fellowships to cover the stay, because my actual salary is needed to hold the fort here.)

Anyway, that’s on my mind. Over the past week I’ve mostly focused on grading, but that fresh hell is finally over. When I teach these large undergrad courses, it completely paralyzes almost everything else.

Except fiction writing! That’s been going well. I had my first bona fide horror piece published and my first science fiction forthcoming, both in genre magazines. Other than that, I have had a fair bit of literary fiction, slipstream, and humor out since I started submitting last summer. I have more science fiction and a personal essay currently under consideration. And some really nice ideas for humor. The Twitter literary community is wonderful and being part of it makes everything so much better.

I am ready for a summer that’s not as crazy as my past summers have been. Plans: catch my breath in terms of research, read a textbook in a different field, get three papers out that have been on the back burner, get my newbie students actually geared up on their projects. Maybe for once I don’t have to obsess about what I will send to NSF in the fall (one current NSF grant, one still pending). Take a weeklong vacay with family, take the Littles to some day trips throughout the state. Likely host brother-in-law in August (DH’s brother).

This is Eldest’s last summer before he goes to college (insert weeping gif here). Middle Boy is starting middle school. Smurf (remember when he was born?) will turn seven (!) and start second grade in the fall. My age will become divisible by both five and three squared.

What have you been up to, academic blogosphere? 

Sabbatical thoughts/ideas? 

Summer thoughts/ideas?

What would you like to chat about as we’re enjoying the absence of committee meetings and middle-of-the-night email requests for homework deadline extensions?