This week has been eaten up with meetings of one form or another. Tuesday and Wednesday were consumed by what we call "Faculty Retreat." I'm always amused by how these things get called "retreat." You'd think with that kind of name, we'd go off to the lake and build a fire and make s'mores and play games and what all. But, instead, it was two solid days of meetings about procedures, assessment, updates, and a whole lot of other things that, while mostly necessary, aren't terribly interesting. The Fog Index also comes into play at these things, since by its nature academia does love the jargon, and you also have long, protracted discussions about things too. And sometimes they get very protracted. Sometimes you feel you're sitting in a meeting of the Royal Society For Putting Things On Top Of Other Things.
I'm no fan of meetings at all, so you can imagine the squirm factor that sets in during two full days of it. You always bring paperwork to work on when things bog down. And a computer, if you can. I'm unable to get on the campus-wide network on my personal laptop, but I did bring coursework that needed to be retouched for the coming semester. Like a book of crossword puzzles during a long airplane ride, it definitely came in handy. And I got caught up.
The days were not without their hilarity. Because I had to be in my office to solve some Student Crises (tm) during the lunch break - and these crises, by the way, always pop up as soon as the students return - I couldn't join my colleagues in the cafeteria, but instead opted to grab a drink and a bag of chips from the campus bookstore. Easier said than done; I didn't have any cash on hand, and the phone line for the card reader had been cut because of some renovations next door. It had also taken out the ATM in the hallway. So thus began two straight days of having lunch from the vending machines.
Somewhere, Liz Lemon nods with understanding.
Making things even more fun was that yesterday I was expecting a package. My laptop's hard drive is approaching "iffy" category, so I ordered a new one along with an enclosure for my current one so I can continue to use it as an emergency backup. Problem was, FedEx was probably going to deliver it while I was still at work. I tried to pre-sign for it online, but it wasn't an option for this shipment. The best I could do was have it held for me at the nearest FedEx location...30 miles away.
Which was okay - I've done it before. But I'd be hitting that location about the time afternoon rush hour began. And, sure enough, there was one more meeting. And that meeting expanded to fill most of the available time. All I could think about was how I was probably going to get stuck in the mess coming home. Finally, I sprung free from the meeting, did my best Parnelli Jones imitation getting to the location, claimed the package...and then got stuck behind some rolling obstacles on the way home.
After a quick dinner I got out the new drive, spent three hours cloning my old drive to the new one, and then triumphantly installed the new one in the laptop. Didn't work. I tried a couple other things, but then it was time for bed. I finally gave up, reinstalled the old drive, and decided the new drive was a project for the coming weekend.
And that's life for you.