Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Home, and desperately trying to catch up

I'm back from what was a very productive, very worthwhile, but very exhausting trip. I'm still behind and trying to catch up; the next few days will be somewhat lighter, so I'm hoping to be able to catch up then.

Highlights and lowlights:
* Burning the midnight oil for too many nights before the trip + staying up too late too many nights during the trip + airplane/hotel air + stress = sickness. I'm feeling a bit better today, but let's see if my voice holds up in class tomorrow. (I'm betting it won't.)

* Baby Jane was fine in my absence. I'm not sure she noticed my absence, to be honest.

* Traveling on my own was interesting. I can't remember the last time I was only responsible for myself. It was quite freeing. I missed Baby Jane and Mr. Jane, but even that was easier than I anticipated (although saying goodbye was heart-wrenching).

* Running into people I met last year at this same meeting/conference, remembering them, and having them remember me too.

* A marathon dinner with an old, dear friend. We disagree on lots of things---politics, religion---but it never gets ugly. It's nice (and rare) to be able to talk civilly about controversial topics.

* Traveling to meetings and conferences always gets my creative juices flowing. This trip was no exception. So many good ideas! So little time!

* Comparing notes on tenure expectations with colleagues at peer institutions. Apparently, lots of places, across the board, are really unclear about conveying tenure expectations to junior faculty. It was comforting to compare notes across institutions.

* Transporting several days' worth of breastmilk home in my checked luggage, and worrying that it wouldn't survive the trip. (It did, thanks to my MacGuyver-like skills in rigging a cooler-like thing in my bag.)

* Having to yell across a crowded security area that the strange-looking contraption in my carry-on bag was a breast pump. So much for discretion.

* Having to pump after checking out of my hotel room, only to find that none of the hotel bathrooms had an outlet (??). The employee who let me use a hotel room for a half hour was an absolute angel. Yay employees that go above and beyond the call of duty!

I have a bunch of substantive posts brewing, but they will have to wait until life settles down a bit. In the meantime, please head on over to FairerScience for this month's Scientiae!


ScienceMama said...

Can you enlighten us as to your McGuyver-like contraption? Mamas who will soon be traveling without their babes want to know!

Jane said...

Sure thing, sciencemama! I used an insulated lunch box (a small, soft-sided cooler would also work). I packed the bags of breastmilk into a sealed plastic bag (a big ziploc bag) and put them into the lunch box. I then put some ice into two sealed plastic bags (to prevent the ice from leaking all over the inside of my suitcase), put that on top of the breastmilk, and closed the lunchbox. I then packed the lunchbox into a plastic bag, which I "sealed" as well as I could, again to deal with any possible leakage. About half of the ice was still frozen by the time I got home, almost 12 hours after I packed it up, and the milk was still cold. (and no leaks!)

When are you traveling without the Bean?

ScienceMama said...

Husband has convinced me to take a two day mini-vacation with some friends in March, leaving the Bean with Grandma. Grandma has been begging for some 1-on-1 time with Bean, and it'll be good practice for me to go on a short trip without the Bean before I go to a week-long conference in June. Or so I keep telling myself.