Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Some afternoon spottings

This afternoon was Mandatory Insurance Re-Enrollment time for me. It was more woeful this year than in the past because changes. (For one thing: they now require the ssn of all your life-insurance beneficiaries. This is slightly concerning; I hope they have good security on that information. Also, I had to call my mom to get hers and my brother's - he's the primary and she's the secondary on mine)

Also they're going to a new dental insurer but I made dangsure that my dentist took it before agreeing to it (I pay out of pocket on that one, but it's a good deal - if I don't need any work done, I'm just out mmmmmaybe $40 for the whole year - it pays for preventative care - and if I have an emergency, I'm way ahead. Not that I WANT any dental emergencies. But it saved me on all the crown preps I've had.

Two slightly related things: first, the cancer-insurance* guy told me that I could send in for my $75 reimbursement (they do that if you have proof of a screening test in the year and a mammogram is a screening test) by using an app. "I don't smartphone." I told him. He sighed, "Well, you can send it in from your tablet..." "I don't have a tablet." (Mild exasperation on his part): "What do you have?" "I have a laptop and a printer that scans."

So I can scan it and enter the system that way.

(*I know, I know, some people say this is not a good deal and is a waste of money but given my family's health history, it will most likely be cancer that ultimately takes me out, provided I'm not run down by an inattentive driver or a victim of random violent or if what the cool kids are calling SMOD doesn't show up....)

But yeah, don't feel so bad about that because two people from one of the other departments - one that does a lot of "distance learning" - were sitting near me and were talking. One of them was complaining about how the students "expect" immediate answers to their question, and the other one bemoaned, "I just want to eat a meal without having to check my e-mail."


I tell my students: if you e-mail me during "business hours," chances are good I will get back to you within an hour (depending on class schedules). That is mainly because I hate having e-mail hanging over my head. BUT if they e-mail me after about 4 pm or overnight or on a Saturday afternoon or any time on a Sunday, they will hear from me the next day (or on Monday). That's just how it is and they can deal with it. (I don't say it like that, but). I think the problem with 'students expecting an immediate answer' begins with the faculty member - I've NEVER had a problem other than from the most entitled of the entitled (and they are welcome to suck eggs) about my policy of "I'll get back to you tomorrow, not getting up to check my e-mail at midnight, sorry"

It's called boundaries. People have accused me of being bad at setting boundaries but in this particular area I am apparently better than a lot of people.

Honestly, I am NOT that old (though it feels like it, some days) and I remember when the idea was you PHONED your prof with a question - and you did it during office/business hours. You didn't call at 2 am or even at 5 pm. Because you knew they wouldn't be in. Oh, some of them had voice mail, even back in the Silurian when I was an undergrad, but you never knew how often they checked it. And so you just learned: (a) plan ahead and (b) in the case of emergencies, find some other way to deal.

Honestly, I can think of absolutely zero emergencies that were literally life-or-death where I was the ONLY person in the whole world who could fix things. Everything else can be dealt with Monday morning: someone too sick to come to class, someone whose computer blew up over the weekend, someone whose jerk ex took their laptop and destroyed all their semester's work (it happened to a student of mine). If someone's hair is on fire or they got stung by a scorpion or their car is in a ditch, I am not the best person to fix it and there's probably someone more readily reachable who is.

I remember when cell phones were first becoming a big thing, and someone talked about what a luxury item they were, and how "great" it was to be able to be in touch all the time, and I kind of quietly murmured, "In the future, the *real* luxury will be to be a person who doesn't *have* to be in touch all the time" and I stand by that.

Having to be in touch 24/7 is not a mark of how important you are; it is a mark of how many people are allowed to abuse you and your time. I'm glad I'm not "important" in that way - that I can go home and watch NCIS or take a shower or do a workout or sew and if the phone rings, if I don't want to answer it, I don't, and the world is highly unlikely to end if I don't. (I never want elected office because I don't want to have to deal with a "3 am phone call")

Anyway. After all that I called up the people from church who are letting me take red cedar from their property for my research project (and really, this is the LAST week I can get it set up and still get decent results before Christmas) and we went out and I cut a ton of cedar branches. And when I came back here, I found that the last bit of equipment I need has arrived....so I can set the thing up tomorrow (or at least start). Tomorrow is no-morning-classes day because assessment testing - so I'm at least going to get a start. Even though I do feel very much like this:


And yes: if this winds up being published I am going to thank Charlene and Tom in the acknowledgements for being available to help me get the cedar.

No comments: