Tuesday, February 22, 2011

To Close or Not to Close....

By Monday morning (2/21/11) we had at least 12" of snow on the ground. While the snow was supposed to let up around noon on Monday, it did not, with flakes continuing to fall until well into the evening.

Sometime on Sunday evening, the University of Minnesota--Twin Cities decided to close the campus until noon on Monday. By Monday morning, all other Twin Cities colleges and universities had cancelled classes for the entire day. At noon, when the snow was clearly not stopping, the U still did not close the campus for the rest of the afternoon.

I can think of at least 3 reasons the U decided to stay open:
1) with more students staying on campus in dorms, the risk to student safety becomes less
2) faculty complain when they lose a day of class that they had already planned on
3) as the state's flagship university, the U has to keep higher standards than other institutions to avoid the appearance of laziness or "fat-cat-iness" in the eyes of the public/legislature

Yet, when people not affiliated with the U (i.e., news agencies, city officials, etc.) say "don't drive unless it's an emergency," how can the public institution defend staying open? I just heard on the news that there were over 340 crashes on roads yesterday (Monday). Will it take a fatal accident of someone trying to get in to work in a non-emergency office before U officials allow safety to trump other concerns?

As a friend of mine posted on Facebook:
News: "Stay home unless it's an emergency."
Work: "Why would we close?"

Next time the U "generously" grants a 1/2 snow day, I say we should all just stay home as protest. If a university opens but no one attends, is it really a university?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Does she hear?

So with a deaf dog, the question that is always out there is "does she hear anything at all?" Because she is from a rescue organization, Abbie has never been officially tested for deafness. But there are several informal tests, such as not responding to doors opening and closing, voices, other dogs' warning growls, food falling on the floor, and other little things that hearing dogs react to. And in many ways, deaf dogs are much easier; no worries about thunderstorms or fireworks, for instance.

We've tried different things around the house. Does she hear or feel stomping? What about clapping? The majority of our experiments haven't resulted in anything definite. Was that a sound she reacted to, or just me?

But we've had a couple of experiences in the past few months that lead us to believe that she is not completely deaf (just mostly deaf). On a walk one afternoon, I swear she heard the dog barking inside a house. We walked by and I heard the barking, but did not see any obvious movement, or anything else that might have sparked her attention. But at a particular "woof," she whipped her head around to see what was there.  Then last week, there was a particular sound on TV (I wish I could remember what we were watching) that definitely got to her...she was so startled that she actually leaped off the couch woofing at whatever she had just heard; she was also very suspicious about getting back on the couch. Finally, last night, Remy barked randomly, and Abbie zeroed in on her.

We'll probably never know the full extent of her (non-)hearing, but it is fun to see what she can hear and what she can't.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Same Stick, Different Day

Abbie loves to play on our walks. She zooms around, pounces this leaf, bounds through that drift. I frequently carry a toy with me (or she does when she wears her saddlebags), but not always. Sometimes I will even pick up sticks that I see so that she'll have something to play with.

On Monday afternoon's walk, she found this BIG stick, and really wanted to bring it along. It must be a very good stick, because she wanted it again on Tuesday afternoon.

Or, maybe she just wants to eat it...more fiber in her diet?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Abbie's adventure that wasn't

A new year, maybe more blogging (but don't hold your breath...I promise nothing).

'Twas the Tuesday before Christmas. We were racing around the house starting our packing for our drive to Tennessee (of course, leaving first thing the next morning, we waited until the night before to begin). We had just picked up seat covers and floor mats for our new van, and were working in the garage trying to get them installed before anything else.

Because Abbie is best behaved when supervised, we don't like to leave her in the house if we're outside. It was also too early to drop her off at her puppy-sitter's. So, as per usual when we work outside, Abbie was hanging out in the back yard while we were in the garage. The part she was in consisted of about 5 square feet of shoveled patio plus the sidewalk leading to the gate. The rest of the yard was still buried under the 2+ feet of snow from the recent storms.

In order to preserve what little warmth the garage contained, we closed the big garage door, and continued our work. After about 5 minutes, Scott first heard skritching noises, but wasn't quite sure what he was hearing. A little bit later, I heard them too. We opened the garage door to admit a white puppy, someone just trying to find her people. The gate was still latched, and all of the snow was pristine around the fences, so the silly girl either jumped the fence, which I'm sure she could do, or climbed it. But rather than revel in her new-found freedom, she came looking for us, for which I am extremely surprised and grateful. I guess she's saying that she's found her home.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Working woes

So, we've been short one FTE (full-time employee) since February 2009. The person in that advising position resigned during a U-wide hiring "pause." I was not permitted to re-fill the position, and when the new fiscal year rolled around in July 2009, that position was wiped from the books because it was unfilled. That left me with me, 1 FTE adviser, 1 FTE Office Specialist (receptionist).

In order to support our students during the summer registration period and continuing, we had our Office Specialist  do half-time advising (yes, while still being a full-time receptionist AND not receiving any pay augmentation), and a colleague from CIS (College in the Schools) pick up some additional advising. Then the CIS person left in October 2009. Because the CIS person was the most recent departure, that was the position most likely to be refilled, even though I've been short-staffed longer.

The plan then became to move our Office Specialist into advising, since that's what he should be doing, then hire someone to work 50% time in CIS and 50% time as an office specialist, with a student worker picking up the other 50% time reception. Not ideal, but the only thing people were willing to work for.

Of course, with budgets being the way they are, the 50-50 position has been put on hold. Then, my 1 remaining FTE adviser submitted her resignation, meaning PSEO will consist of 2 FTE + 1 student worker. Surely that's a position I'd be allowed to refill. Guess what? We were given approval to hire 1 FTE adviser----the office specialist! Two people, reorganized, still = 2 people!

Next, and here is the really fun part, my boss's boss said that there is a student worker in a different part of the college who will be graduating, and they are creating a job for her that will be 50% time over there and 50% time PSEO reception. WTF? Without going into specifics, apparently there's someone in the same unit who has time to read novels at work...why are we creating a new position for a former student worker when this other person has time to probably do similar tasks? And why are we creating a new position when I have an old position that still needs to be filled?

I've been given permission to hire a temporary adviser for our busy registration time, but seriously. Yes, I'll take the 50% position, because we really do need a body at our front desk, and an invested, fully hired person is better than a student worker. But I am not happy. And when momma ain't happy, ain't no one happy.