Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Sandwich Approach

Walks have become a daily ritual for me. Whether it be hitting a wall with preparing course material, needing a break following an over-stimulating conversation (either good or bad) or simply as I way to regroup and think, this 15 minute break that occurs regardless of the weather (and I mean regardless) has become essential towards maintaining my sanity.

It's on these walks, as I allow my mind to wander, that I find myself reflecting on all the craziness, both internal and external, that has been affecting my life. And it's amazing what observations that can come during some of these mind wanders. Whether it be observing spring flowers.


Or stumbling on a mini-petting zoo.


An aside: every place of work should have a petting zoo during periods of major deadlines.
All reminders that life can be insanely simple and complex all at once.

So what's been happening that's been keeping me from writing? That's instead put me into observation mode that involves reading and reflecting? The answer to that is both complex and simple. Fear and uncertainty mingled with guilt, complex emotions and a craving for simplicity in at least one area of my life.

To make sense of it all, I've been taking the sandwich approach. Similar in format to the ever popular "compliment sandwich," I've been allowing myself to acknowledge the hard and the fucked-up while inserting the good/amazing in the middle. Because without that middle, that amazing filling that fuels, what am I left with? And why try.

So let's start there:

  • In March, I learned that my position is being transferred to another department. What this means is both my appointment goes from a 10 month appointment to a 12 month, comes with a formal training plan and a director to oversee my progress. Which is insane to think that I'll be getting feedback on my career path choice.
  • This appointment also comes with a raise. A substantial one.
  • In April, I was called to a last minute meeting with this director to discuss a potential teaching opportunity for the fall. Within 5 minutes of sitting down at the table with 2 other people I had never met, I realize that the chair of the department was offering me a course for their first year graduate students to help design and implement for the fall. After taking a minute to recover (which included some insane laughter and me resting my head on said table), I accepted the offer and am in the process of working with another faculty member to map out a schedule/syllabus for the fall. It's still all surreal.
  • Grey has been rocking at his job, with his team making great strides with their project. Between the new commute, the work and the people he's working with, I haven't seen him this happy in years.
  • We are officially out of diapers. After almost 6 months of no diapers during the day, He-Beat made the final leap to being dry at night (She-Beat has been there since last fall). After the experience of 16-20 diapers a day, it's amazingly freeing to only have to worry about underwear.
  • The Beats continue to grow and thrive. Which is amazing to watch and a daily reminder of how lucky I am. 
  • A new relationship is brewing between Jaxson and Daisy and the Beats. With the discovery that both Beats are skilled climbers (Grey says they're in their monkey stage), have figured out all the baby-locks (and have future careers as cat-burglars) and can open the fridge without much effort has come some interesting moments of intervention. Combined with their daily chore of feeding the cats and the realization that it's far more effective for the cats to wake up the kids than to try to get me out of bed, a new alliance is forming. Grey predicts the adults are screwed.
Looking over this list, it's a good middle. Which helps me whether the following:
  • I start teaching summer school in less than a month. Though I am excited about this course and what I'll personally learn, it's also an intensive 7 week course (3 hour lectures!!!) that teaches half-a-year of college level biology. A meeting with the previous instructor that ended with "don't be afraid to fail people" has left me more than a bit concerned about what's ahead.
  • In addition to this, Grey's contract at his current position comes due July 1. As of now, we don't know if he'll be unemployed again in a month, which is terribly frightening. Apparently management is meeting, so we're hoping he'll have an answer sooner than later. Still....
  • We're moving. For two different reasons. The first being that 800 sq. feet is far too small for two soon-to-be 4 year olds, two adults and two cats. But the other reason is....
  • I've had a falling out with Martha. With the Beats growing has come the noise complaints and the accusation that kids are "harming the house." Attempts to work things out have been completely ignored or refuted, so we're in a weird place of avoiding one another. I'm both heartbroken but also resigned.
  • The cherry on top of all of this is that we put our condo on the market. 24 hours later, we got an offer. A very good offer. Potential buyers immediately signed off on the resale certificate (which I really didn't expect) and 24 hours after our counter-offer, we found ourselves in contract. There's still the appraisal to get through. There's also the fact that they could break contract. But right now the close date is set for July 1. 
So the sandwich. Especially following moments where the fear seems so intense and walking doesn't quite take the edge off. 

8 comments:

  1. Wow! I am so excited for you. A promotion at work AND a promotion out of diapers?? Break out the champagne.

    So true this: " life can be insanely simple and complex all at once."

    Also, though, I'm really excited for your students. How lucky are they?

    Good luck with the transitions. I hope Grey gets good news, and soon.

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  2. What great career news! After so much struggle it sounds like the breakthroughs are coming.

    Although I understand the complicated feelings about teaching a new course. Exciting but nerve wracking.

    I hope the uncertainty around where you will live is resolved soon, and positively. It sounds like you could use a safe haven at the end of your day to relax (as much as is possible with 4yo twins).

    Long walks are the best. You are lucky to be able to take them regularly.

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  3. WOW! So much going on. Life is never simple or straight...there are always curves and bends and bumps and valleys. You are doing a great job at navigating all of this!!

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  4. A lot on your plate, and even the good stuff still bring with it a helping of stress, but I like the way you've framed the good and the bad. Sort of like privilege, we're always a mix of both :-)

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  5. That is a lot to process and deal with in life! Glad to hear about your career news, and good luck with designing and planning the new course. Sending thoughts that things will go well with Grey. A huge cheer for being done with diapers - that sounds marvelous! Also crossing fingers that all goes well with the condo sale.

    I'm sorry to hear about the falling out with Martha. It's hard and hurtful when relationships fall apart. Hoping you can find the right new place soon.

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  6. Wow there is a lot going on! Congrats on the promotion, being DONE with diapers, and that your condo was under contract so quickly. Sorry to hear about the falling out with Martha- that's too bad.

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  7. So much going on! Congratulations on your promotion and the exciting opportunity to teach the class! I empathize, I'm in the middle of doing something scary at work and I alternate between eager anticipation and paralyzing fear.

    Congrats on your condo being under contract so quickly! That's awesome.

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  8. I thought I had commented on this before; apparently not! You have had a full plate! -- lots of good news, & some not so much. I am particularly sorry that you've fallen out with Martha. Here's hoping you find a new home soon that will be a better fit for your growing family!

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