Tidying my office.
Ringing back parents in our study.
Ringing another office about someone's A level results that keeps ringing me up to panic.
Things I am doing...
Reading internet fora.
Anyway I had a phone call the other day from a social worker who didn't say she was "from" our local authority but that she was contacting me "in connection with our application to foster with" our local authority. And her accent was very non-local. So I was a bit confused but rang her back and left a message. She rang me the next day (after working hours, very impressive for a social worker) and explained that she and some colleagues had been independently contracted (which involves organisation, and spending money, very impressive for a local authority) to do the approval process for 7 potential foster carers (7 households, I think). They would be travelling to our area and staying over and spending a few days doing each family. This will take them about 6 months in total, so they would probably still be contracted to do it when we got back.
Now, if you have been through the approval process (and I have not) you will be able to say that this would be quite gruelling. I have only done the preparation course and the idea of doing all that over a couple of days is pretty daunting! But the advantage would be that although it wouldn't start till we got back, it would be over quickly, and Mr Spouse would probably not have a job yet, so we could do it in the daytime. Also one hopes the social worker wouldn't have too much opportunity to go away and think up extra nasty questions between sessions.
So I am feeling quite positive about that. Plus a sweet colleague (the least forthcoming of men ever) at another university, who I knew fosters, chatted to me about the process at a conference the other week and his opinion was "they just want to see if you are normal, you have to be pretty bad to fail approval".
It sounds like our local authority are serious about getting this batch of carers approved as soon as possible (v. sensible for them), and like it shouldn't be too much of an ordeal, if we can stand 2-3 solid days of being grilled.