OMG - my Chair just walked in with a young woman and said, "Allow me to introduce you to your new TA!" And she's a grad student!!
I had been told that I would get an undergrad, which I frankly was not thrilled with. I designed the course assignments accordingly, and readied myself for grading purgatory in this 90-student first-year class - I didn't figure an undergrad could do the grading of a lot of the work I would be assigning, especially if I hadn't met them or taught them and had no idea of their skills and abilities.
Lo and behold, Chair turned up with a grad student for me. This lifts the grading burden SO much. In fact, I just roughed out the hours that it would take for her to do most of the grading - with the exception of the critical reading responses and the essay questions on the final exam - and she can, I think, do it ALL within her allotted hours.
I spoke with her for a while and she's very smart and cool.
People, I am so happy. I cannot tell you how much easier I will breathe starting today.
And right after that, I went down to a colleague's office because she'd said she had a whole lot of books she wanted to offer to me. I came with two dozen awesome, current, right-up-my-alley, so-helpful-for-teaching books!!!
Also: on Monday I sent off my revisions on the article that was recently accepted, and just today I sent off the article I've been working on recently. In the end, I opted to send it to a "chemical engineering" journal instead of the "haiku" one. This was because, after taking ten days away from it, I reread it and thought it wouldn't really work in the haiku journal - it was too chemical-engineering jargony. It would require too much revision to really make it haiku-suitable. Next time.
A happy, happy day!!!