I should be wrapping presents, and, don't worry, I will be soon. (We've finally figured out our little geographic minuet, and tomorrow will set out to see our respective families. After a couple of days of silence with Nanna (and a couple of days of choking down the chicken and potatoes Ricky insists Marina cook every single night), and a brief elbow stab at Cornell, I'll head to the consumerist orgy at my in-laws; the wrapped presents need to be ready to go in the car with Beaker.)
Instead I've been sitting and writing memos to my department chair. Comments on drafts of the reports that have arisen from the department's recent contentious meetings, which he needs to have before I'll have computer access again. But catalog deadlines are coming up, and he also needs to know what I want to teach next year. What do I tell him?
We are a small department, and current budget constraints will making hiring a replacement even more difficult than our geography already does. But it is just too early, now, and, should I be lucky enough that it all keeps working, and I'm on leave next fall, I will have to pray that my helping out last spring (when we had someone go on medical leave a week before the semester started) earned me some Brownie points... or that we're all so in it together that we don't even need to count points like that. For now, though, I'll say nothing. The chair hasn't nagged me yet, and I think I can wait until he does.
What about the friend I'll see tonight, the one who went through a chemical pregnancy over Christmas a couple of years ago? Who I've been avoiding telling details just for this week because I don't want to freak her out? But everyone else at the tiny gathering knows, and I think it has to come out.
Or my brother- and sister-in-law, the ones we haven't told even that we were trying, just because... oh God. They run a horse farm. They talk about very little but their horses, which often require various forms of reproductive assistance: regular ultrasounds, HCG (get it? horse chorionic gonadtropin!) shots, inseminations... I haven't been able to face the transition any conversation with them about human efforts would take to comparison with horse efforts. But now Beaker's mother has strongly hinted that (a) we need to tell them and (b) they'll be hurt we haven't told them. I deduce (c) she's told them already, like she did with Beaker's other brother... but we still have to confess ourselves.