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Back to the office (and lab) (#1094)

Topics/tags: Autobiographical, rambly

Yesterday was Grinnell’s official Return to Work day. No, that’s not You have to return to work, that’s If you’d like to return to your office or lab for a few hours, you can. I think a lot of people want to go back, if only to pick up some things to use for working from home.

Of course, there were steps to complete before returning to work. We had to read through and agree to the College’s policies. They’re what you expect: Wear a mask or a face shield, maintain social distancing, monitor for symptoms, etc. I agreed to that a few days ago. When I did so, I also had to sign up for a time to pick up my personal protective equipment (PPE). I did so yesterday morning. I also signed another agreement when I picked up the PPE.

A plastic bag filled with a variety of stuff.  You can see some grey face mask, a pack of alcohol wipes, a bottle of sanitizer, a blue neck strap for the sanitizer, a sheet of paper, and more.

Getting to the PPE station was a bit difficult. You see, the street between my house and the PPE station—and between the PPE station and my 1127 Park Street office [1]—has been torn up. In fact, when I arrived, the cement truck was directly in front of 1127 Park Street.

A cement truck in front of a white house.

But that’s okay; the warning signs only exist so that you don’t sue when you cross the street, right? [2]

It’s been over four months since I’ve been in my office. It wasn’t as neat as I’d remembered it [5]. But there are so many cool books on the shelves! I wish I’d been able to spend the time here. I’m actually not sure how much time I have left in the office; no one has told me. To avoid the complexities of moving [6], I’ve asked to stay where I am. I have not yet heard any response [7].

What else? Oh, I tried the masks the College gave us. They are the over-the-ear kind. Those don’t work well for me because I have hearing aids. In fact, when I tried one on and took it off, it pulled out both of my hearing aids. I may order one with ties from Raygun or I may ask an awesome friend who gave me one to make me another one. Michelle also tells me that there are easy-to-make adapters. Maybe I’ll try that.

I spent the morning in my office. I met with my research students [8]. I met with my Dean [9]. I met with my research students again [10]. I met with my department [11]. It was nice to have a decent Internet connection [12]. Then, in the afternoon, I headed over to my lab.

My lab was as messy as I expected. That should be no surprise. I had planned time to straighten a bit and look for things, but I also had meetings scheduled [14]. Another meeting with the research team [15]. A meeting with the SGA leadership [17]. A meeting with a student [18]. I managed to cancel the research team meeting. SGA leadership needed to reschedule. And I was feeling a bit overwhelmed. So I just gathered some things from my lab and went home.

Did I need to be in my office and lab? I got some privacy and quiet. I had a good Internet connection. I managed to snag some things I needed. It may not have been strictly necessary, but it was a good idea.

Postscript: It was also nice to muse again. Of course, musing doesn’t get me through my excessive to-do list, but almost nothing can help with that. That to-do list is also on my list of things to muse about.

[1] And between my 1127 Park Street office and my Noyce research lab.

[2] I walked to the end of the block, crossed the street, and then crossed back again. [3,4]

[3] Wanna buy a bridge?

[4] Evidence:

A photo from the corner of Park and 6th
avenue with barriers up.

[5] It also wasn’t as messy as my Noyce Office usually is.

[6] That is, moving our visitor out of my Noyce office and moving me back to my Noyce office

[7] Update: About twenty-four hours after I wrote that sentence, I received permission to stay at 1127 Park Street for another year. Yay! I hope in the spring I’ll get to resume conversations with my awesome downstairs neighbors.

[8] Remotely.

[9] Remotely.

[10] Remotely.

[11] Remotely.

[12] At some point, I may write about the bastion of incompetence that is Windstream.

[14] Welcome to Sam’s new life. At least it’s not as bad as, say, the Chair of the Faculty’s life or, I assume, the Acting Dean’s life.

[15] Remotely. I’m not breaking the streak [16].

[16] You can decide with the streak refers to the sequence of online meetings, the sequence of repetitive endnotes, or that annoying Ray Stevens song.

[17] Remotely.

[18] Remotely.

Version 1.0 of 2020-07-13 .