Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My Dissertation Schedule

Okay, Friends. I need help.

I'm presenting for you my schedule to get this dissertation done by the end of the Spring semester. So far, I have about 1/3 of Chapter 1 written and most of Chapters 3 and 4 completed. That's about 100 pages, so far. And, T has said that the 100 pages I've written so far is really good, solid stuff. So, I'm feeling pretty good about the (hopefully, minimum) revisions that will be required later.

However, I need timelines, deadlines, and schedules. I'm a bit type A, if you haven't ever noticed.

So, here is my schedule for the next four months:

Now -- End of January: Finish first 1/3 of Chapter 1 (almost there)
Feb 1 - 15: Finish 2nd third of Chapter 1
Feb 15 - 28: Finish final 3rd of Chapter 1
Mar 1 - 20: Finish up Chapters 3 and 4 (almost there)
Mar 21 - 31: Finish Chapter 2 (Methodology)
April 1 - 30: Write Chapter 5 (Conclusion (haven't started))
May 1st: Turn in complete dissertation to T (YEA!!)

(And, fingers crossed)
late May - early June: To committee members
late June: Defend!!
July 10th: Dissertation to Grad Office

(Worst case scenario, I defend in August/September and graduate in December. Not the plan but wouldn't be the worst thing to happen.)

Now, what I need from YOU!! I need you to be my pain-in-my-ass. I need you to ask me every time you see me, notice I'm online, comment on my facebook, and run into my on campus: "How much have you written today?!?" I need you to hound me so that I begin to hate you and everyone who looks like you. That's your job. Forget your other jobs. Your new assignment is to help me get this done. Got it?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

My little snot...

My latest installment in Adventures in Autism...

So, last night before bed, I walk/stumble/crawl into the bathroom to find it completely covered in water. Water on the floor, on the toilet, on the laboratory. The water on the floor had to be at least a good 1/2 in high. I sighed, cleaned up the water, and went to sleep. I just couldn't manage to care in my exhaustion.

But, I woke up at 2 a.m. a bit cold so I stumbled over to the closet to get a blanket. Except that they were all wet. Apparently, Tobey tried to clean up the water in the bathroom with 4-5 bath towels. However, rather than putting the towels in the laundry room, he put them back into the closet. On top of my blankets. Soaking wet.

Whatever. I'm too tired to care. I turn up the heat and just go back to bed. Jet lag still sucks.

This morning, I wake up to get ready for work. Workout. Shower. Get lunches made and boys off to school. And, when I went into the bathroom to fix my hair and put some make up on, I pull open the laboratory drawer in the bathroom to find it completely flooded. My make up. Toothbrushes. Cotton swabs. Best of all, two small, plastic figurines of Wawa Woobzy floating in a 2 inch pool of water next to my eyeliner. The little snot turned my drawer into a swimming pool. Needless to say, Momma was not looking too cute this morning before stopping off at Walgreens.

[sighs and pounds head on the desk]

Monday, January 19, 2009

New Year's Financial Resolutions...

Each new year, I tend to reassess my financial situation from the previous and for the current year. I've made LOTS of positive financial changes last year, and I'm excited and looking forward to the upcoming year. Most notably, my new job at NCTC has boosted more than just my checking account. I finally feel like the "grown up" that I am. Finally. I earn enough money that I can provide for my children all on my own and I'm paying off my debt steadily.

(And, just as nice as the financial reassurances, the job has also given me a much needed boost to my confidence. I feel good about what I'm teaching and the contributions I can make toward the college and my students. Last semester was a bit rough but I'm really excited about starting the spring semester, and I'm looking forward to what I can do for my students and the college.)

But, back to my finances... I probably should be more embarrassed about this, but I guess I'm not since I'm putting this out into the universe...

So, here's the cold, hard truth: Raising a family on your own while working on a Ph.D. is pretty much a financial nightmare. It's impossible to raise two small children on a GTA's monthly salary. At least, it's impossible without going into serious credit card and student loan debt. However, I make no appologies: Supplementing my meager GTA income with student loans, credit cards, and additional part-time adjuncting jobs made sure that the boys had health insurance, food to eat (even if it was sometimes just Totino's pizzas and pb & j sandwiches), and clothes on their backs (even if they often came from the resale store, much to my ex-husband's chagrine.)

I've charged on credit cards Alex's dental expenses, much needed groceries, back-to-school supplies, and the occasional winter coat at Old Navy. While I've driven a car with 200,000+ miles for the past 8 years and my boys haven't been able to do extra-curricular activities because we couldn't afford them, I must admit that I owed more than $14,000 in credit card debt in October. (In my defense, $8,000 of that debt was carried over from my divorce, which is another financial story. But, considering that I once owed $18,000 after my divorce, the fact that I paid it down so much is still quite an accomplishment.)

However, thanks to a small financial windfall here, an Earned Income Tax credit there, a whole lotta skimping and saving, and a new job w/ a "grown up" paycheck, I can say that by March 2009, I will have paid off more than $14,000 in credit card debt.

Here's the breakdown:
  • As of 10/1/08, total outstanding credit card debt: $14,179
  • As of 12/1/08, total outstanding credit card debt: $6,179
  • As of 1/21/09, total outstanding credit card debt: $3,436
  • As of 3/01/09, total outstanding credit card debt: $0
While I will have to start on my student loans next and I did buy a (new to me) used car this fall that I won't have paid off until the summer (fingers crossed), I'm feeling really proud of my accomplishments. Toot, toot.