Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Off Stride

It's seventh week now, and I feel like I haven't found my rhythm for the semester. First there were multiple searches, complete with campus visits (I've participated in about 7 campus visits this semester, some for merely a meeting, some for hours at a time). Then there's the budget disaster, which our campus officials are increasingly characterizing as "calamaty" and "catastrophe."

And endless meetings. We're talking about ways to save money, including furloughs. While I'm grateful to have my job, I'm not looking forward to unpaid furloughs. Word is that the administrators are thinking about basically a half month unpaid. So I'm wondering if, since I'm paid on a 9 month contract, that means I will lose 1/18th of my pay rather than the 1/24th that someone on a full year contract would lose. That's a chunk out of my income that I'm a bit worried about. And yet, I also recognize that there's a level of pettiness to my worry. But that doesn't stop me from worrying.

The amount of money we could save by furloughing the whole campus for a half a month is substantial, but not compared to the budget cut the state is imposing. Basically, across the system, I'm told, the budget cut to the system could be balanced by completely cutting two NWU campuses the size of this one. That's a heck of a big budget cut, and our share is overwhelmingly large.

There's a point in budget discussions, here and nationally, that my brain just gets overwhelmed and befuddled, and I'm at that point pretty much all the time. I don't know how to solve the economic problems; I don't know how to even begin to address them. I only know that even doing all the things I was supposed to be doing (living within a budget, saving for emergencies, saving for retirement, getting a realistically affordable mortgage, minimizing credit card debt/use), I'm still scared. And I'm lucky to be only scared so far.


I was walking to a campus visit thing last week, and passed by a group of trees on campus with a bunch of Cedar Waxwings! I usually see Cedar Waxwings in the trees outside my office window (I know, you may be jealous on so many fronts: office, window, trees visible!) a bit later in spring, so I was surprised to see them already. I'm guessing the spring migration is ON!

We've got spring break from classes next week. There's a big marsh a couple hours south of us which is known as a great place for migration birding. So I'm thinking of taking a day out of the break and going to visit the marsh.

Yep, that's me: an exciting spring trip to southern parts in search of wild birds. Who knows, there may be feathering involved for some of the birds!

I've got my fingers crossed for an early spring, even though we're expecting snow this afternoon and tonight.


  1. Yay wild birding! That sounds fun --- who cares if some people might not find it exciting.

  2. They are talking about furloughs here, too, and I am a bit worried. I already stopped eating out and gave up drinking Diet Pepsi about 9 months ago, so I'm wondering what I can cut next.

  3. Unpaid furloughs? Yikes. How is that legal?

  4. I know how you feel, Bardiac. I feel the same way -- sort of nervous and scared most of the time, and this is even with a spouse who is tenured and makes a lot more than I do. (In fact that may make me more vulnerable in some ways; what if something happens to him?) I heard someone say the other day that what we really need right now is each other, our networks and friends. Think I agree.

  5. Anonymous10:51 AM

    Everyone in my department is anxious as well. I'm trying to just take things one day at a time or my head might explode from worry.

    BUT: Hooray for an upcoming spring break and for a birding jaunt!

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  7. All this made me think of was "the shadow of the waxwing slain / By the false azure in the windowpane."