We are in our current dean's third year. For the last two years he has hosted a December event at his home the day grades are turned in. It's usually a pretty nice spread with decent food and nice wine, etc. There hasn't been anything said about it this year, however, so I asked him at the school meeting if there was going to be party this December.
He got a little flustered, explained that because of the economic situation, etc. there would be no party.
Okay, fine. Seems reasonable. I saw him in the hall about 5 minutes later with a group of people and gave a off-handed apology since I'd put him on the spot. He just kind of smiled, but didn't say anything.
So now I'm worried that I really DID offend him. And right before we find out about raises, too! Ugh. One of my colleagues, with whom I discussed my fear, said I should write an apology email making it clear that I only asked because I really LOVED his parties. That seems overly creepy to me. It's time like this that I wish there was a clip system for faculty members like there is at my son's school. His 'clip' gets moved every time he does something bad, until he eventually ends up in the Principal's office. A ton of probably unnecessary stress could be relieved if I could just go look and see if the dean has moved my clip.