Hello from Cincinnati!

First off, I’d like to publicly welcome Kate and Alexander to PhD+! Your posts so far have been thoughtful and informative, and I’m so glad you’re here.

Cincinnati Skyline

Tonight I’m posting from Cincinnati, where another MathFest is on its way. I’ve probably said this before, but I’d only vaguely heard of MathFest, the Mathematical Association of America’s annual convention, before I started my teaching postdoc at the University of the Pacific. To be honest, I’d only vaguely heard of the MAA before then, and then only as something that was mostly targeted towards undergraduates. But as I got more involved, I started to appreciate MathFest, and the MAA, for its active community of professors with jobs like mine, where we have the obligation/luxury to deliberately spend most of our time and energy on undergraduate education. I’ve been looking forward to seeing my colleagues, meeting new people, and getting re-energized about math and my teaching before the new school year starts.

This year it’s a family affair. My husband’s new teaching gig doesn’t start for another few weeks, and I’m still nursing my son, so I brought them both with me on our way to visit family in the midwest. I figured I’d get a hotel really close to the convention center and bounce back and forth between my son and the convention. I wouldn’t even need to pump in the lactation room like I did at the JMM.

Or that was the plan. Warning: if you’re reading this in a hotel bed, you may want to save the rest of this for once you’re home.

I won’t mention the hotel except to say that it was not an official MAA conference hotel, but we wound up vacating as quickly as possible this morning once we realized something (I can’t bring myself to type any more speculation) had been biting us all night. After spending the day at the laundromat and baking our stuff in chemicals in the hot car all afternoon, I feel reasonably sure we won’t bring any traveling companions with us to our new place.

This hotel is lovely, and bug free as near as I can tell, though my usual inspections didn’t turn up anything at the previous place either. But it’s also two miles away, so my dream of popping back for a quick feed in between sessions has been crushed. The pump and the lactation room it is.

So I’d planned on this post describing all the fun things I was excited to see at this year’s MathFest, and how great it was going to be traveling with my son. Instead, I’ve only barely looked at schedule for tomorrow and don’t even know what I’m going to be doing in the morning. If I’m looking a little ragged tomorrow, please be charitable and assume it’s because my baby was fussy, and not because I had a flashlight pointed at a hotel bed all night while trying to google how to synthesize DDT.

Surely this has happened to some you, given the amount of travel embedded in academic life, right? Any tips? Or horror stories? Share away in the comments.

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