Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Day at the Office

I recently took Jeremy to work with me. It was Fall Break, and his school is closed, since it is a UT facility. The hard part is that while students, faculty, and everyone in academic affairs is off, those of us who work in student affairs have to get our butts into the office, school or no school. We tend to have more work on these days, since the students that don't go home enjoy doing crazy things in and around our halls with all the extra time on their hands.

So, the monster came with me to the office on the Friday of Fall Break until about 3pm. He was shockingly good. I got a ton of work done and he was great at entertaining himself. It possibly helps that my office is in a secluded hallway in a residence hall, with its own arts and crafts room, conference room, and bathroom. He had free reign in the whole area, and he made his presence known.

He erased my huge calendar of all the events in my halls for the month (thanks), and drew pictures on it and on my chair.He made a paper train set with our RA bulletin board supplies. He used both paper trains and real trains to play.He randomly made faces at the camera with Mr. Moo.He rediscovered the "Jeremy cabinet" in my office. It is full of toys and diapers and stuff I may need if Jeremy is around. Unfortunately, I have not updated it in about a year, so the toys were a bit babyish for him. This did not deter his fun, though.We went to the University Center for Chick-Fil-A and he got visits from almost all of my hall directors. Overall, I'd say it was a good and productive day at the office. Plus, I got to leave at 3pm to put a tired boy down for a late nap!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

VIP Photo Calls

For those of you who don't know, I am kind of a celebrity. I often have photographers following me around begging for my picture. I am like one of the Glee kids, only way more cool and ok with embracing my real age. It's a hard life, being this amazing and successful, but it is a cross I must bear.

Or not.

This past month, I was reminded just how insignificant, yet randomly lucky I am to have such a fun job and work in a place where I am given endless opportunity and spend my days with great students and staff members. And yes, sometimes professional photographers show up in my life, but certainly not because I am at all photogenic or special. If anything, I try my hardest to avoid all situations where cameras and Jeannie are in the same room. Bad things happen.

It all started a few weeks ago, when one of the committees I advise had a photo shoot for our Graduate Assistant Recruitment materials. I am in charge of our GA hiring process, so I helped make this one happen while gladly remaining behind the scenes. Our goal was to have a more collegiate and scholastic approach than previous years. No orange or football stuff, just old school architecture and the textbook "college feel". Aren't my kiddos cute? Two of them are actually professional staff, but I think they can pass as grads. You can't even tell that Ayre's Hall was under construction and surrounded by a nasty fence. Then, the First Year Studies class that I teach won a contest to be featured in next year's textbook. Cool, right? Not a professional shoot, but these are my little freshmen students - adorable.After that, we had a photo shoot for our Professional Staff Recruitment Guide, so I had to be in this photo with the hall directors. Jerry and I are the only non-HDs in the photo, but we don't stick out too much as being super old, I don't think. We had to wear sweatshirts from our alma maters, hence my bright orange. Best part, we took the photo up in the newly built Tennessee Terrace in Neyland Stadium. It is beautiful! Here we are out on the terrace:And here we are inside the room (behind the sky boxes):It must be nice to be rich. Look at the bathrooms, there were flat screen TVs above each urinal in the men's room. Crazy. Jasmine and Rachel primping and me stopping to smell the roses... in the huge rich person bathroom.Here is the TV in the lobby area. You can't really tell but it is longer than me and taller than me. Insane.Rachel stealing ice cream from the rich people.Me and Emily posing from the sky boxes overlooking the field (it looks crazy since it was an off week and apparently the sand helps the grass grow).Jerry broke the thing that lists rich people's names. Ok, you can't tell, but this glass was angled and I was lying on it, so it felt like I was suspended above the field. Creepy.Press box. This is where the game announcer sits and yells things into the microphone.Then we got to go into Peyton Manning's personal box. Look, here he is.Here is his view.Here is his beer. On our dry campus. Apparently he is a Budweiser fan.Thanks for playing Picture Pages with me! See you next time!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Fall Has Fell

Today's installment is brought to you by my lovely hubby, Brian, who made me stay home from work today since I was feeling yucky and wrote me this beautiful little post about our favorite time of year. Enjoy!
"It’s been a long, hot summer, but the signs of autumn are everywhere:

he leaves are starting to turn, the air is crisp and clean and the mosquitoes have stopped their annoying high-pitched whine as they streak past your ears looking for a good spot to bite—and that’s just inside the house.

My son wore a sweater and shoes that actually cover all of his feet when he went to school today. When he returns home, the autumnal shades of his brown and red sweater will no doubt be accentuated with copious splatters of tomato soup and/or ketchup and mustard, which, I’m learning, are the three toddler food groups. I guess his shoes will carry home about the same amount of sand that his sandals did during the summer. For the past couple of days, he says “Cold!” every time we step outside. A couple of weeks ago, we took him on an evening excursion to the Halloween store. (How awesome is the Halloween store? I wish they’d had those when I was growing up.) They have a lot of truly horrifying decorations on display at the Halloween store. I mean really disturbing stuff, like the images that come into your dreams when you eat a chili dog with raw onions right before you go to sleep. When I was young, people didn’t really like that stuff, or at least not people with two hundred dollars to buy a manikin dressed like Reagan from The Exorcist, whose eyes roll up white with two claps of your hands and whose head spins around and around, and whose mechanical stomach has a three-gallon pea soup capacity. At any rate, Jeremy took a look at the display of cadaverous, maliciously grinning babies playing tag in a graveyard, their red-glowing eyes peek-a-booing at him over the headstones. He squeezed his Mommy’s hand a little tighter, looked away, and walked her to a different part of the store. He selected a Thomas the Tank Engine trick-or-treat bucket.

My wife, Jeannie, has a pretty nasty cold, a sure harbinger of equinoctial transformation. Seriously, it should be in the Farmer’s Almanac every year. Her throat made a sound this morning that was like Boris Karloff drowning in a vat of nacho cheese. Hope you get to feeling better soon, babe.

Of course, fall would still be summer without the UT Volunteers’ first loss of the year, aka the Florida game. Only this year, that loss came early, to a very scary Oregon Ducks squad, a sure signal that the regular flow and ebb of the days and weeks is not quite right in East Tennessee. I’m not really a Tennessee fan (I’m more of an NFL person, and a Titans supporter of long standing), but since moving to Knoxville, I’ve learned that, in this part of the world, time is marked throughout the fall season in “weekends”: e.g., Florida weekend, Alabama weekend, etc. The calendar of fall weekends is nearly as much a matter of religious tradition as the calendar of saints: Florida weekend is always in September, Alabama weekend is always The Third Weekend in October (except in the modern era the game is played on the fourth weekend of the month, yet it is still called “The Third Weekend in October.” So I guess our East Tennessee calendars should say, on October the 25th, “Third Weekend in October [observed]”), and November weekends are reserved for reliably beatable opponents, like Kentucky, Vanderbilt and whoever the Orange Guys pay to show up and get beat like red-headed stepchildren in the Homecoming contest. Vanderbilt used to be game played the last weekend of every fall, but they’ve recently switched it up so that they play Kentucky, a worthier, if still quite chumpy, foe for the season finale.

Everywhere, the longing for beer and hot dogs has been supplanted by the longing for cider and donuts. Dracula teeth and candy corn are in the seasonal display at the drug store and, if you drive out in the country a lot like I do, that burny, fall smell is on the air. It’s a great time of year."

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Milk Mania

One day last week, something odd happened. Jeremy officially became a self-reliant human being. He no longer needs me. I have fulfilled my role as his parent, I can move on now and pursue other dreams and goals. I will miss him, but am sure he will write.

Each morning he wakes me up around 6am by pulling on my covers or yanking my toes. I have a rule that he cannot bother me before 6am, so he then grabs my phone (I am on 24 hour protocol coverage each day, so I keep the phone by the bed) and proceeds to read the numbers to me. Usually he says "Nine" because that's what a six looks like upside down. Anyway, after proving to me that he is allowed to be attacking my feet, he demands "TV." So, I haul my butt out of bed, grab the monster, and proceed not to the TV, but to the dreaded potty. Once that is over with, we settle in with either PBS Kids or a video since he is generally up before cartoons in our lack-of-cable-TV-house. I get his milk and Flintstones vitamin, and he is happy. I head to the shower, we get dressed for the day and have breakfast, then head out to school or speech therapy.

On this particularly special day, the routine seemed to be progressing in a normal fashion. Toes were tickled, numbers were inverted, potty was screamed at, Diego was turned on, milk was poured, and a hot shower was enjoyed. However, mid way through my shower, the curtain was pulled away and Jeremy thrust his milk cup at me. I was thoroughly confused until I noticed that the top was not screwed on properly and the milk had spilled out onto his shirt. Silly mommy. I apologized and fixed the top. Then I noticed that the cup was REALLY full of milk, like way more full than I ever pour it. Intrigued, I asked Jeremy where this milk came from. He smirked. Clearly, this was a sign I needed to get my naked butt out of the shower and investigate. I got downstairs and saw this:He got the milk out of the fridge, unscrewed it, unscrewed his cup, poured the milk, and only spilled a little bit. I know I should have scolded him for making a mess and being gluttonous in needing so much milk in span of 10 minutes, but I was just so impressed. Seriously, I spill more milk than that on a normal day. (I did later notice that the carpet got saturated in one spot, so we are now sans throw-rug as we figure out how to removed the curdled milk smell). But, despite the smell, the mess, and the shower interruption, I really was proud of my man. He is quite self-sufficient. He would have gotten away with it all if he had been able to line up the grooves on the sippy cup top properly. Notice he even put the cap back on the milk.

So, goodbye to my baby. I realize he is not really ready to live without me, but this does introduce one exciting new possibility: Jeremy is old enough to do chores!! Hallelujah, chore chart here we come! He won't know what hit him.