Here it is after midnight and I have a 5:30 wake up call coming and I am not in bed yet. I'm in Natchez for the NASW annual program meeting, where I am presenting twice (note to self: what was I thinking?). I just finished the power point for the second presentation...yes, Gigi, of course I did. :)
Way back in November, there seemed to be plenty of time to get those two presentations done. This year has been worse than usual for the "do the next thing" method of managing, though. With our chair serving as interim dean, we are short in the administration department. My friends and colleagues, Debra and Chris, and I are trying to cover the BSW program director position and field director, the MSW program director position and field director, the chair position, and do our regular teaching and research and service. As a result, no matter how much planning and organizing I seem to do, it just does not happen. Something else always seems to jump in the middle of things with a big ole priority sign in front of it.
I'm not complaining--I find that often I do my best work in a crisis as it tends to force me to focus. But, really, folks, I would like to have some non-crisis opportunities to check that out. This past week has been non-stop crisis. My father-in-law has been in the emergency room and/or hospital and/or ambulance 4 times in the past week. Given he is 12 hours from us, and alone except for his wonderful sister-in-law and brother-in-law (our beloved Auntie and Tio BenBen), it is frustrating for him, them, and us. It's not over yet, and we are trying to figure out how to juggle our demanding jobs with the very important need to be in Texas at the same time.
My dear friend and colleague is ill. There is nothing I would not do for her if I could, and as far as I can tell, so would the rest of the crew. It did mean that I had to juggle things to accommodate covering some things for her in the next few days, at the same time that I had to be here for the conference. This weekend is our spring recruit day, so we were arranging coverage at the same time I was getting the recruitment materials together to bring to the conference. I was supposed to have a grad student with me to manage the recruiting table...didn't happen. So, now I am trying to juggle presenting, recruiting, and getting my needed CEs as my license renewal is due. Everyone just jumped right in there to offer help and support though, and we have managed to get it all done by working together. Everyone literally stepped up to fill in the gaps, and it is a poignant reminder of the importance of relationship.
I had been looking forward to the Natchez trip for a while, and my other good friend and colleague was supposed to join me. We are great "roomies" because we both like the room COLD! She was unable to come, so I hopped into my new Lexus hybrid (2 hours later than I had hoped to depart Oxford) and hit the road. (I love this car, by the way. Just got it Saturday, but it is awesome. It handles superbly, and I got 48 mpg on the trip down). I did have to drive in pouring rain almost the entire way. I made a quick pit stop in Jackson just as the bottom dropped out, and got totally drenched. The 4 p.m. traffic was horrid, and it was blinding rain for the trip through town. Finally, at the turnoff to Natchez, the rain let up and the last hour of the trip was quite beautiful and pleasant.
I am safely ensconced in my Vidalia Riverfront hotel that I prefer ( a mere 5 minute drive across the Mississippi River Bridge to the conference site) and looking forward to tomorrow. I'll try to visit some historic sites to take a few pictures, eat at Fat Mama's Tamales, and relax out on the riverfront to watch the Mississippi River roll on by. So, I sacrifice tonight, but tomorrow evening is play time.
Then, it's back to Oxford and work on Saturday. Some days a diamond...some days a stone.