Monday, November 25, 2013

Death of a boss

Quiz time:

Which is correct?
a)  I reacted A with B in order to obtain C.

b) A was reacted with B in order to obtain C.

c) A was allowed to react with B in order to provide C.

Years ago, I had selected b) in a report I was writing. I did know enough not to use a) as there is no 'I' in chemistry despite its spelling. The passive voice is always used. The problem with choice b) is that the implied subject is myself and technically I am not doing the reacting. c) is the correct choice even though there is a whole lot of actions behind the bland verb 'allow'. (these things just don't react without considerable help...they didn't get into that flask by themselves).

Who did the reacting? My then boss (technically my skip supervisor).


Despite being a science major, I did have a high grade point in my English classes though I never took a scientific writing class. He threw an ACS style guide at me and told me to read it THAT NIGHT. The rules of writing scientific papers are fairly simple and straightforward. It is just like learning grammar rules of a foreign language (an easy foreign language).

He was both Steve's and my boss. Once we were married, the powers that were decided we shouldn't be in the same section. Later on, different powers that were decided that we shouldn't even be in the same department. Towards the end, we were even in different divisions though I could walk to his lab in less than 3 minutes.

He was my boss or my boss's boss for about 9 years. He was pretty crabby but predictable. I really didn't mind him because I knew underneath the bluster, he was OK.

I saw him at a co-worker's anniversary party 7 years ago. He seemed pleased to see me and told me a story about one of his kids. Five minutes later, he then told me the same story again. Then later, the whole story again. Hmmmm.

I read today that he died Friday (after sundown) of Alzheimer's. This wasn't even in our paper but in a link to someone else's  obituary (someone who I thought I knew but needed more details to confirm), I saw his unique name. The funeral was today (48 hours to burial for Jewish people). Since it wasn't in our paper, I felt they were limiting the attendance at the funeral which is sad. He was a very bright man but Alzheimer's just erases all of that.
Running is less fun these days. It was warmer today (22) but with the winds and icy spots, I was not enjoying it beyond feeling that I was accomplishing something.
Josh brought Allie over for a visit yesterday so her mom could have a break.
Today I heard of  results from testing of Oliver and Maya. Oliver's results could be expected but Maya's......

Naomi was made to feel like a failure.
We asked her to write her name (only recently could she even say her name).She didn't respond. We asked her again. Still no response. We put a pencil in her hand and then repeated the question. This is what she wrote:

(A weak scribble)

We asked her to identify letters in the alphabet. She said either A or P for all of them. We asked her to count to 20. Results 2,3,4,6 8, 20,2. We are unsure whether she lacks desire or ability to learn or both.

For the record, Maya is 3. As I said before, when I was in kindergarten, we were considered to be doing well if we knew the alphabet, could count to 20 and tie our shoes. Now apparently you are expected to read and do math problems.

They will give Maya more one-on-one interactions. She doesn't answer questions in groups.

When Josh was 4, he was given a language skills test. He was given sentences that he was supposed to correct the bad grammar therein. The instructions were: what is wrong with this?
The windows is open.

He corrected the best he could the content of the statements instead.

I was told that he was extremely deficient and that no way was he ready for kindergarten. My gut (wishful thinking? prideful mom?) thought he was very bright with enunciation issues. My gut was right and it is with Maya too. Below: my big-eyed baby, a tabula rasa. She can be anything.

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