Saturday, September 19, 2009

Employment: I has it.

For the time being at least.

I was hired a week ago by the Peabody Research Institute at Vanderbilt. Part-time, limited term. $15.25/hr. For the next two months, I will be spending most of my weekday mornings playing games with four-year-olds.

is the school of education at Vandy. PRI is, as the title might have clued you in, the research arm of it. The project I'm working on is trying to find an effective assessment to evaluate self-regulation in small children (nearly a contradiction in terms, I know), so that self regulation can be assessed in a way other than the judgements of teachers, which are too subjective. And then, with a solid assessment found, self-regulation will be able to predict (a) how well students will be doing in a few years, unless they get some intervention, and therefore (b) how well novel pedagogical methods are working.

But that's all the theoretical stuff that has little to do with me. I am giving a bunch of assessments to four-year-olds in local schools. Lots of "can you tell me what this is?"; "what word is this?"; "finish what I say"; and "can you do this?" With stickers as rewards.

The search for a full time library/archives/museum job goes on, of course.

But, though it has bearing on my relationship with Bicycle, we are not here to talk about my new job.

Things go, I guess. We have a rough agreement at the moment on household expenses, housework, etc. I am responsible for 30% of rent and utilities, and 50% of groceries. Of course, since Bicycle still owes my about $1650, he actually is paying for nearly everything, and then taking whatever my share was off the tab. The only utility bill in my name is the internet, so I just pay that and add his share back into the tab. Eventually he'll pay me back; most, if not all, will likely be paid in this manner.

I am paying less rent/utilities because I have a much smaller income. Look at it this way. If we were to split it exactly equally, one of two things would happen. Either we'd have to live cheaply enough that I could afford my half, or, I'd spend so much of my income on my half, if we lived more costly, that I'd be constantly broke and unable to accumulate any savings. So, in order to both allow the person with the lower income to not exhaust their money on living expenses and to be able to save some, and so that we can both enjoy a higher standard of living, we do it this way. When I eventually get a real job, we will recalculate. It is quite possible that I could make more than he does, so I would then pay more. (I originally got the idea of doing it this way from a bell hooks book; not quite sure, but I think it was Communion : the female search for love.)

Since my low income is partially the result of the part-time nature of my job, I have time on my hands still. (If I was working full time at this rate of pay, I'd make only a few thousand dollars per year less that Bicycle is making.) So, in exchange for my lower monetary responsibility, I have taken on more household duties. What this means in practice is that I make dinner most nights, vacuum the whole place weekly, make sure the dishwasher gets turned on and then emptied, and generally keep things (especially the kitchen) tidy. Bicycle cleans the bathroom and runs a mop when those things are needed, does more cooking on the weekends, takes out the garbage and recycling, and does a lot of pot and pan washing.

So far, so good, more or less. It's working smoothly in particular because I'm used to doing more housework anyway, even when we were supposed to be at parity. If our places were reversed, I'm sure Bicycle would try, but not be quite as together as they are with me doing it. You know, gender dynamics, Bicycle's own disorganized nature, et cetera. We've heard it all before. But there you have it.

I must say though, while I'm maligning Bicycle's disorganized nature, that he's made leaps and bound lately. (Just not necessarily when it comes to housekeeping.) Grad school is really whipping him into shape, and he's making a mighty effort. He got an iphone a few weeks ago, and it's helping with the organization a lot. The procrastination and planning still needs work, but it's getting better. Unfortunately for me, as I said, this has mostly been affecting his work and school habits. The improvements haven't really bled over to home life, though I sure hope they do, and by the time I have a full-time job.

I do promise to eventually finish the summer story. Haven't forgot.

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