Sunday, October 10, 2010

Major Changes

Tuesday was a day of announcements that could really affect the quality of my life in the near future. First was the announcement of a new dean at my job. There has been much stress revolving this issue for months, it is quite a long and even a bit sordid of a story, but next week it will just another anecdote thankfully. I liked this candidate the best when we met the 3 candidates for dean last spring and was disappointed when she got passed over the first time around. But now she is coming and I am excited. We desperately need new leadership. How she will like me and what I am doing and what I am not doing (publishing) remains to be seen. She sounds like a real go-getter so she may not relate well to someone like me who is significantly less ambitious. Time will tell.

I have had a chronic leak in my bathroom for years, often little fixes are made and it stops it or slows it for awhile but I have rarely had a leak free ceiling. In fact the ceiling fell down several years ago. The water comes down in more than one place and at times it is like it is raining in there. The amount of water coming down has filled a bucket on some days lately so the time for excuses and delays is over. But the landlord and management company have been stalling, I pay one of the cheaper rents here and so does my upstairs neighbor so we tend to get 2nd citizen treatment.

So while doing laundry that evening I approached my Super again about this leak. He told me that the landlord had successfully sold our building after it being on the market for 3 years or so. This explains the most recent stalling by the landlord, he was on his way out. Again, how does this affect me? Well, rumor is that the new landlords are very good at building maintenance. And even "good" would be great right now. I live in a fairly nice area, but to look at my building out of this context, you'd think I lived in a ghetto.

One thing my Super said was that one of the first things the new landlord mentioned was that they are planning to install security cameras, at the front door, in the elevator. We had two burglaries during the daytime just a couple of weeks ago so this is very exciting news. This has given me a positive impression of the new landlord, that he isn't just going to sit back and collect the rent like the previous one.

It is interesting to be on this end of change. I have done nothing and yet I expect big changes to happen both at work and at home. I feel like I have less battles to wage in the near future. I wonder how long that feeling will last?

Ah, better not to ask that question but to enjoy it while it lasts.

Friday, October 8, 2010


Last year after finishing years of being in and out of school (2 masters degrees in 7 years) and losing my dog I found myself in need of doing something more meaningful than my first inclination of sitting home in front of the dvd player. A friend of mine suggested volunteering via NY Cares. I did a few projects last year, the main ones being Early Morning Reading (with grade school kids before their school day started) and English Conversation (with adults in the evenings). Both had their good points and bad points but they also left me wanting more structure, consistency and more of a connection. I wasn't so clear last year on what I wanted so it was easier to choose projects.

I have spent the past almost two months trying to decide what to do for my volunteering. Late August is when the longer term projects start organizing, more reading or maybe math with kids this time? Tutoring high school students for their SATs? I have signed up for projects, gone for the training or gone for the first day and decided it wasn't for me. The SAT project was appealing but I realized that I would be spending too much time trying to reconnect myself with math that I never learned well in the first place--how could I help someone else master it if it was still foreign for me?

Finally I went to another website that connects volunteers with organizations with needs, Idealist. There I found what I clearly had in the back of my mind but hadn't clearly articulated yet even to myself--a small organization in Chinatown that teaches English. I went for the interview/information session last week and start next week. I have great hopes for this, this organization has been teaching English for awhile, you teach in a team of 3 so there is good support for new teachers. There is prep work to do, but everyone takes turns so it shouldn't be too much of a time commitment--always a concern for me.

Actually I tried signing up with this group before, last winter in fact. But their semester ended too late, I would miss the last 3 weeks or so because of my summer trip to Hong Kong so it was bad timing. This clearly was meant to be because the last class of the semester is Dec. 15. I leave for my next trip to Hong Kong the very next day. :)

As for how satisfying an experience it is, time will tell I guess.