I spent the morning having Freaking Frankentooth ground down to more human size. It kept trying to stage a coup and take over my whole mouth, and when the coup failed, decided instead to revolt more passively by creating great pain. Obviously, it was a part previously possessed by an evil criminal and it wants to return to its former lifestyle. Happily, Igorette the Antisocial Dentist worked me in to the schedule and ground that evil metal down to size. Now, Frankentooth is slightly smaller and a lot more edgy. It keeps trying to slash out a my tongue, but at least the rest of my teeth now meet. I’ve seriously got to get rid of this thing before it turns its anger outward and takes a bite out of some innocent passerby.
At noon, our carpenter came and walked around the house with us to show us all of the places that the house is disintegrating, nicely visible now that they’ve removed the 150-year-old paint (which was clearly structural.) He told us it will be at least 3 days of his time, plus materials. As he was talking, Spousal Unit kept getting quieter and quieter and grumpier and grumpier. Poor man, how he hates to spend money. Even when the clapboards are falling off the side of the house, he’d love an alternative solution. Like caulk and duct tape. Given the 5 figures we’re slapping down already for the paint-removal and reapplication process, I have to say I’m a bit with him on this. But, alas, unless we want spongy siding and increased water damage, we’re over a barrel. Caulk and duct tape just won’t do it, as evidenced by the previous owners’ attempts in some places.
After that, SU dropped me off at the library so that I could head to the Cage. Just as I walked in the door, I ran smack into Committee Member #1 — a brilliant and often distracted professor. #1 has been away for quite some time, so has been a bit out of the loop-ish on my failure to complete the dissertation thing. I haven’t exactly been avoiding #1, but neither did I seek #1 out. It was therefore a bit awkward to have an accidental encounter.
Anyway, in the elevator up to the Cage/Stacks, after the perfunctory brief chat, I caught #1 up to what has been going on with my work. #1’s response?
“What? You want me there??”
I pointed out to #1 that they were in fact, a member of my committee and so required by those pesky “regulations” to be there. (ok, with slightly less sarcasm) At which point, #1 said (in tone of great disappointment and surprise):
“I thought you’d have long ago defended and proxy-ed me out. Well.” (pursing lips.)
I said no, and did not point out the obvious which was that #1 has yet to see a copy of anything I’ve written (due to the preference of Old Advisor for complete control and due to my tendency for brutal secrecy surrounding the early stages of my written work in order to protect my delicate ego). At which point, we reached my floor, so I wished #1 well and exited the elevator, when letting out a great exhalation of relief to be out of that tension-filled little lift. (My departure was made all the more awkward by the fact that #1 in typical academic fashion was not paying attention to what floor we were on and so caused a brief tangle as we both simultaneously attempted to leave the elevator. Awkward, to say the least.)
#1 seemed distracted and disgruntled. Most of which I don’t think has anything to do with me, but the encounter was disconcerting nonetheless. Mainly, I think, because of that whole issue I’ve got with “Disappointing Someone in a Position of Authority that I Yearn to Impress and Please.” But it was also not so much fun to be informed that I was “behind” in #1’s vision of my life. Yes, #1, I already know that I should have long ago defended, thank you very much. But, I don’t really wish to be reminded of it harshly and randomly on a cold and gloomy afternoon with an aching Frankentooth, a disintegrating south corner, and a grumpy husband. Not to mention at the point that I’m trying to return to diss. work after doing other things for a few hours. (Of course, I don’t know how else #1 could have responded, really. Maybe a little less judgment and a little more support? With an offer to read my drafts and an invitation to tea and cookies?)
But, despite my own frustration, the disappointment in #1’s voice, and the beyond-awkward departure, I wasn’t as scared of #1 as I have been in the past. #1 did not seem to be 50′ tall (as is usual in Advisor Attacks.) In fact, #1 seemed fairly human-sized, and not really even Someone in a position of Authority that I need to worry about pleasing inordinately. Yes, #1 needs to read my stuff soon. Yes, #1 needs to be present at my defense, and Yes, I do need to make sure that #1 thinks the dissertation is something worth defending. But, I too have stature, and for some reason today, I felt every inch of it. Even if it was only 5’6″.