Monday, April 23, 2018

#MicroblogMondays: All the changes

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

Today marks 3 1/2 weeks since we landed on the West Coast. It's odd to think about this time as we are literally still unpacking, partly living out of boxes, and yet so very much has been changing. 

Like the Beats being settled into a new school and me learning to navigate the school system for upcoming Kindergarten registration (whole other post on that madness).

Like upcoming surgery for She-Beat.

Like me finding myself in a new role of finishing teaching from 2,673 miles away, literally watching my students take ownership of this project that I created and making it their own (and being insanely proud of them for it).

And handling material changes, like purchasing new beds and furniture. Oh, and Lenny officially has a new sister named Ruby, making us a 2 car family for the first time in 15 years (damn if that hasn't been a surreal experience).

Sitting here, taking a breath from unpacking, scheduling, making phone calls and mapping out job applications, all the changes make our life in Boston seem like it was from a different time. Even though I get vivid flashes of moments there, making me remember it wasn't that long ago. 

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Dealing with porch pirates

It started with 3 missing packages. In an effort to circumvent all the hassles we faced with our last move (i.e. no litterbox at 11 pm), I ordered a bunch of pet supplies and had the shipped to our new address. I knew we were risking things when I got an alert that the order was arriving a day earlier than planned, but I hoped that no one would be interested in cat food.

The order was quickly replaced when I couldn't find it, but the sizes of the boxes indicated they hadn't simply been misplaced. The next evening, I would find a young man hanging out in what was supposed to be a locked off area behind our unit. When confronted, he jumped and than accused me of racial profiling. Never mind he was trespassing.

Over the next couple of weeks I would be lulled into a false sense that the package theft incident was singular. During this time, a neighbor would start coming over to our complex, hanging out for hours on end in the carport area, watching me the whole time. But I wanted to believe it wasn't anything to be concerned about.

Until yesterday when the period of the loiterer on the property correlated nicely with another package disappearing. Him laughing wildly when he saw me come home. And then getting very agitated when the mother of his daughter dropped the little girl off, making his home address painfully clear.

Police reports have been filed (though let's be honest, the police aren't going to do a damn thing) and management has been alerted. Originally management assumed I was just being dramatic until they found the loiterer on the property, refusing to leave. Supposedly the police are going to show up, but who knows.

In the meantime, Grey and I are devising ways to handle porch pirates, given we have no firm evidence who the culprit is. We're rerouting all package deliveries to Grey's work (meaning now I owe the loading dock crew) while I'm looking into a lockbox/locking bag, investigating delivery services, looking into security cameras and other options. All while resisting the temptation to buy a bait box.

Sadly, as annoying as all of this is, it's still better than our previous rental situation (read no leaking oil tanks or lack of heat). A beast I can handle given we are living in a transitioning neighborhood. But given this is a growing problem, would love thoughts.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Spoke too soon

On Monday, She-Beat was formally diagnosed with sleep apnea. In the midst of moving and transitioning, she's been waking up in the middle of the night choking and wheezing and snoring has become routine. One night it became too much and after dealing with a screaming Grey who was clearly scared out of his mind, I got her in to see a new medical provider where she immediately got a referral to the local sleep clinic.

The diagnosis is a double-edged sword. First, we have an explanation. And this ENT has suggested that this could be the underlying cause for She-Beat's developmental delay as we know that poor sleep is linked with learning difficulties. In light of the fact that there is a growing body of evidence about the links of poor sleep quality with early onset dementia/Alzheimer's, ADHD, diabetes, high-blood pressure, etc, none of this is surprising and it actually gives me hope that in combination with continued therapy we may end up with a kid who once again falls into the normal range.

But I'm also insanely pissed off that this was completely missed by the Harvard-educated ENTs in Boston as well as the daycare we divorce. These supposedly world-class physicians missed something that was immediately obvious to the ENT on the West Coast, demonstrating once again how full of shit they can be. And I'm actually looking into reporting that daycare to the Board of Education given that they missed something that should have been addressed (the use to let her nap until 5 pm, claiming they were not allowed to wake children up and ignoring something that was glaringly wrong).

Finally, I'm frightened. Because this means surgery number 5 for this child who isn't even 5 years old. Following when the Beats had their ear tubes removed, I assumed we had put all of this behind us. I spoke too soon. And though adenoid and tonsil removal is routine, it's none the less scary to know there's yet another operation.

The summary statement is we're moving forward, with surgery scheduled for May 3. And I'm thankful that we have some way to help She-Beat as this cannot continue. She needs to be able to breathe.

But I dare anyone to argue with me about how superior medical training in Boston is. Or argue in general.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Adjusting

One week ago today, Grey and I loaded up the family and headed to a hotel by the airport. Over the next 24 hours we would fight exhaustion and stress, navigating 2 separate airport and all that was needed in between. I'll be honest and state there were moments where Grey wanted to slip me some of the sedatives Jaxson and Daisy were on (apparently I looked like a ghost after dealing with TSA), but somehow we survived.

And now we've been focusing on adjusting.

There's so much I forgot about the strangeness that came with arriving on the West Coast for the first time. The car-centric culture with wide streets and access to freeways. The distance between destinations. But most of all is the warm weather and sunshine; going from winter-like conditions to summer-like conditions has been unsettling.

Equally unsettling has been navigating the porch pirates and petty scams. One unexpected blessing of our Boston experience was having zero issues trespassing or package theft.

But the biggest adjustment is finding ourselves once again close to family. Over the weekend, Lucas and Moon invited us over to their home for Easter, which was an easy 30 min trek. It's the first time Moon has ever met the Beats and the cousins meeting one another. MIL is also currently in town celebrating her birthday, which has given her a chance to see the Beats in almost 3 years. And my brother is planning on visiting this coming weekend.

There's a lot of weirdness surrounding all these events and as we begin to establish a new normal and routine. Some days all I want to do is pull the covers back over my head, sleeping until my head isn't as foggy or allowing myself a glass of wine earlier in the evening.

But then there's seeing the foothills in the distance or watching the kids interact with one another. There's watching Jaxson and Daisy sun themselves on the patio. And finally there's seeing the smile on Grey's face that disappeared during our time in Boston; hearing the excitement he has once again about the future and life in general

This past week also marked 6 years since my second miscarriage, which I've been quietly dealing with. Normally this week is a harder one, with me hiding more from the world, but the truth is it feels like hope and light are finding there way back in to spaces of my heart that I didn't know were darkened. It's far from perfect and all of this has made me realize more healing needs to happen, yet its progress.

All of it part of adjusting, both to this new normal but also to a new chapter.

Monday, April 2, 2018

#MicroblogMondays: Rants from a cat (moving edition)

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

Dear Humans,


Our mom sucks. Daisy and I had a feeling we were going to be shoved into a plane again, given all the furniture disappeared and we had to have a visit with the evil veterinarian to discuss "pills," but deep down I was hoping that maybe, just maybe, she wouldn't go through with it. 

Then we woke up early on Wednesday morning to an extra early breakfast, only for me to realize too late that the food was laced (Daisy wasn't fooled, resulting in another pill being shoved down her throat). Then we were locked up in our canvas cages, with the humans thinking it was so cute we had our own tags. We officially pee on tags like this.

"Check me out, I'm checked in." is missing "in HELL" at the end.
Equally not fun are the X-ray machines. Any organism who thinks that practice is humane also gets peed on.

But the worst was spending 6 1/2 hours shoved under a seat, having to endure the farts of some stranger while occasionally being placated with head rubs. Daisy and I have survived torture.

Sure, California is pretty peachy. Granted there are less bugs and I miss hearing the mice run through the walls, but there's grass and sunshine and it's been warm.

Plus Daisy and I have claimed new outlooks

Note the lone paw indicating I'm fully stretched out and unconcerned about the humans opinions about my new outpost
Still, this whole moving thing is for the birds. I just want things to calm down and for my mom to get rid of any future ideas of relocating.

In the meantime, I officially have claimed the stairs. Toll to pass depends on how you chose to please me, including chewing out my mom.


With kindest regards (unless you chose to drug me too),
Jaxson Euripides Meowser

Monday, March 26, 2018

#MicroblogMondays: The Lasts

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

Over the weekend, I took the Beats on one last hike at a favorite local wildlife area. The March weather combined with chilly temperatures resulted in the place being fairly deserted, giving us the opportunity to explore.



As part of our hikes at this preserve, the Beats would cap of their exploration with spending some time on a lone set of swings located close to the parking lot. Over the last 2 1/2 years, they've gone from toddling to the baby seats, begging to be picked up and placed in, to independently getting themselves situated in the normal swing seats, asking to be pushed higher and higher.



Yesterday was their last time on this swing set. Just writing those words leaves me heavy with emotion.

***************
The March/April transition is a hard time of year for me. 6 years ago, I was in the middle of a second miscarriage, fighting to hang onto hope only to later learn all had been lost. And even though a year later things would change, I would still be reflecting on those last moments of what could have been.

Last night I was reminded of all of this again while dealing with phantom pain at the site of my Caesarean. Pressing down on the scars, I marveled at how grateful I was to even get the experience of carrying the Beats for as long as I did. But I also allowed for the pain of knowing all that was lost due to that journey.

There's so much focus on the firsts in life, from first steps to first kiss to first adventures. But equally important is recognizing the union that exists between those firsts and the lasts. That one cannot exist without the other, despite the fear surrounding closing the doors on certain chapters.

************
This week the Beats say good-bye to friends and teachers. The excitement of moving back to the West Coast is being tempered by them having these lasts. Already He-Beat is struggling, lashing out and being extra clingy as he fights to make sense of these emotions. The urge to completely shelter them both from this part of the process is high. And yet, I know that they have to learn to navigate this process, with Grey and me guiding them through this process of happy/sad that comes with transitions.

Being excited for the firsts and all the new while also honoring the lasts.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Tetras

It's moving week in the Grey/Cristy household.
On Sunday, we picked up the rental car and began packing. Start death-cleaning style process of sorting what will make the trip. Decide to part with beds, bookcases, computer desk and futon. No other drama to report.

Monday: Lenny was picked up to begin his journey to California. He'll likely be meeting us there.

Monday was also started with me realizing that the car seats wouldn't fit in the rental car (sidenote: Chevy Transverse is a designed for people who are more concerned about their comfort than actually transporting small children). Cue multiple phone calls to rental car company with being told there's nothing they can do. And apparently Cristy is not allowed to drive the rental as she's not listed on the agreement. In addition, moving pods arrive unexpectedly, cueing neighbor (landlady's aunt) to freak out about accessing the garbage bins and her launching in about hating having an extra recycling bin.

Cristy attends lecture with puffy eyes. Death-cleaning/packing continues.

Tuesday: trip to airport to get Cristy on rental car agreement. Quickly learn to not trust people on the phone as 1) being married negates the need to add me and 2) the people at the office hear about our situation and immediately act to rectify it. We leave airport with a Dodge Minivan and a $50 refund for our trouble. City makes fun of neighbor for being stupid about recycling bin. Neighbors happily accept the recycling extra bin (normally they cost $100 for the ticket, so it's a win for them). Ramp up on packing.

Wednesday: Grey and Cristy watch weather, packing while praying. Projected 8-10 inches of snow never happens. Wondering how universe will screw us tomorrow.

Thursday: An extra light dusting of snow. Finish packing. Moving crew comes and loads moving pods. Watching these guys work, filling everything in 3 hours leaves me realizing what an amateur Cristy is. Moving guys finish by taking half the stuff we planned to donate (read Ramones cassettes, blender, various hand tools and electronics), which we are happy to supply them.

Evening ends with my students giving their final presentations to PreK-12 educators (and getting a TON of valuable feedback on their project).

Friday: wake to find moving pod company on site to pick up pods. Cue ever child (ages 2-78) on the block glued to their windows to watch the guy driving the forklift. Donations picked up. Toddler beds sold. Friday ends with promise of take-out and Cristy bullying Craigslist respondents to pick up futon.

I loved Tetras as a kid. But all the moving pieces from this week has left me utterly exhausted, wanting to sleep the sleep of thousand deaths. And it's not over: Monday is vet visit for annual exam and to get meds for trip. Tuesday is final walk through and last day at schools. All leading to Wednesday, which is when we say good-bye to Boston. Still lots to do.

But one thing I am loving is seeing all the pieces come together. Waving good-bye to the pods felt really good. Watching furniture disappear has felt even better. And this final divorce with the rental from hell is something both Grey and I are looking forward to.

Just need to figure out how everything fits together in this short stretch of time.

Monday, March 19, 2018

#MicroblogMondays: The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

Over the weekend, Grey's former roommate and very good friend came up with his family (in-laws included) to visit. It's become a running joke that he's only interested in seeing us during coast-to-coast moves (last time we saw them was 2 days after our arrival to Boston). The morning was spent taking everyone to the Natural History Museum followed by a tour of campus, resulting in two extremely happy former roommate in-laws but 3 kiddos who were deeply bored and in need their own adventure.

To rectify the adult-centered morning, Grey, former roommate and I decided to take the kids to an indoor playground. But the first order of business was getting lunch into the preschoolers. Hence the stop at Friendly's, when former roommate realized that Grey and I had never been and declared it was his duty to initiate us.

There's so much about this place that left me cringing. But the ultimate was during the walk to the restaurant when we realized the entrance was blocked by a male Canadian goose who was hissing and chasing people away. It was only when we managed to get around him and inside the atrium that we noticed his mate sitting in a nest pressed up to the glass, clearly incubating her eggs.

"That's Ozzie and Harriet" said one of the regulars as Grey, former roommate and I caught our breaths while the kids marveled at the continued geese drama happening outside. "They've been coming here for the last 7 years to lay their eggs and raise their young." 

Apparently no one has thought to build them an enclosure to rectify the ongoing drama. 

Then again, maybe this is just a weird revival of the 1950s TV show, except being an audience member is a bit more of an experience.

Monday, March 12, 2018

#MicroblogMondays: Preparing

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

Grey found a rental: a 3 bedroom 1.5 bath townhouse-style end unit that has recently been updated and looks sound. Cue sign of relief.

Follow by both Grey and I springing into action. Today we've arranged transporting the car, arranged for moving pods, established new utilities, gave notice to close existing utilities, bought plane tickets, set up vet appointments (fun fact: Jaxson and Daisy need no documentation to fly domestically, but we want sedatives even though last time they did NOT work at all), dropped off old vet records, mailed signed lease, updated mailing address for USPS and contact the school district for IEP transfer and enrolling both Beats into Kindergarten.

I also had a phone interview #3 and Nor'easter #4 is scheduled to hit at 1 am. 

In short we're preparing, whether the universe likes it or not.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Famine to Feast

My job search did a 180 last week. On the heels of a rejection letter, I got an email from a newer contact that he was leaving his current position and wondering if I was interested in his job (and if yes, he would send me the hiring manager's information). One day latter, one of my pain letter contacts (on the heels of applying for a job posting) connected with me on LinkedIn, resulting in me getting an email from the hiring manager. Minutes later, another newer contact reached out, requesting a meeting about a new position the company is creating as we speak. The bow on top is was an email yesterday evening with an interview request for a position I applied for and then followed up on to inform them that I would be relocating to the area at the end of the month.

As of right now, I'm two phone interviews in with the pain letter company. There's been a lot of back-and-forth about whether I would even be a good fit given the work they are doing is not in my wheelhouse. But my skill-set is, especially with team management for tackling unusual problems and so far they keep talking about the next steps. In the meantime, I'm scheduling an interview with the company from last night while responding to the other two with updated information about when I actually may be back on the West Coast.

All of this is weird. I'm not use to having multiple potential options surface all at once, giving the illusion of actual options. The idea that I may get to actually chose an employer is something I haven't allowed myself to think about given that as of this minute no offers are in hand. But given the weird, I've definitely been trying to clear the fog that has been rolling around in my head; remembering that it's my job to also interview these potential employers as the match isn't just about me pleasing them but actually about fitting into the team (meaning I have to be comfortable with the team too).

But I guess I should get use to the universe screwing with me. Even when that means going from famine to feast.

Monday, March 5, 2018

#MicroblogMondays: Aftermath of another bomb cyclone

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

On Friday, Grey and I ventured out grab the Beats early from school. Even though we hadn't sustained any damage, we had concerns with the wind and didn't want to chance finding ourselves in an impossible situation.

About 30 mins after we were all home safe, the following image popped up on my phone from the local neighborhood group.

For anyone wondering, this was only 10 blocks away. I would later get messages from family asking if we were okay given that this same image was being used by national news outlets.

Over the past few days, doubt has been creeping in about this move. Is this truly the best thing for us and the Beats or are we just over reacting to our situation? Maybe we just need to try harder? 

Looking at this image though, knowing that all of those power lines we actually just installed a few months ago, and following on the heels of news about us experiencing two weather events that are usually only experience generationally (if that), it's hard not to see all the signs as pointing that we need to get out as soon as possible.

On Tuesday Grey flies out for the West Coast with the hopes of finding a rental, all with the blessing of his new manager and all the higher-ups at his company. Once that is secure, he will update the moving companies of where we'll be landing. And though I have no illusions that life will be without hardships in the future, it's hard not to hope that things will get better.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Finding Asa Gray

Yesterday, after hitting the "publish" button for my humdrum post, I decided to pack up my laptop and venture over to the Mt. Auburn Cemetery to find Asa Gray. The cemetery itself is lovely, filled with extremely ornate grave makers and landscaping. It's no wonder that this place is also a bird-watching haven.



Now I know what you're thinking: who is Asa Gray? Why spend a lovely day like this hunting for the grave of someone most people have never heard of? Instead of giving you a link and letting you do some reading (I'll do that below), I can give you a summary. The question is which part of the summary to focus on.

You see, I could spend time telling you why Asa Gray, a professor at the Harvard Herbarium, is considered one of the most important botanists of the 19th century. How he was instrumental in unifying the taxonomic knowledge of plants in North America and how his extensive study of the morphological similarities between many eastern Asian and North American plants is still the foundation for ongoing work today. 

But I already know I've lost most of you there.

Instead, what I'll focus on is that despite being a Harvard professor, Asa Gray was deeply religious; fitting the definition of modern day intelligent designers. But how Asa Gray differed from other intelligent designers is that he was also a very close friend of Charles Darwin and believed in evolution via natural selection.

In fact, Darwin's modern-day fame is due to Asa Gray. Asa Gray and Charles Darwin had an ongoing correspondence with Gray's observations and beliefs helping drive many of Darwin's theories. But what really sealed the deal was that at the same time Charles Darwin was developing his theories, another colleague named Alfred Wallace also independently developed the same theory of evolution through natural selection. Why Darwin instead of Wallace got the credit for being first is because when Wallace's manuscript was read at the Linnean Society on July 1, 1858, so too was a letter between Asa Gray and Charles Darwin that outlines Darwin's theories on the origin of species showing that Darwin had outline all of this prior to Wallace's manuscript.

Asa Gray would go on to promote Darwin, receiving one of the first published copies of "On the Origin of Species" and then by arranging the publication of the first American editions, making sure that Darwin received the royalties. The pair remained close friends throughout their lives.

I've been thinking about Asa Gray for many months since I first learned about him this past autumn. With the ongoing divide in this country where people continually separate themselves from one another based on their beliefs and opinions, the relationship between Gray and Darwin is a shining example of how that doesn't have to be. Asa Gray firmly believed that religion and science were not mutually exclusive, something that modern day leaders in science like Francis Collins echo. Yet the myth remains that you either believe in God or Evolution and one has to wonder what underlying political forces are at play to perpetuate this false message and how they benefit from creating such fear.

There's another level though; one that I've been witnessing from bloggers who have resolved their infertility but are not parenting. The question posed of end of life issues but also whether they would even be remembered. It's a common fear that many are quick to brush aside with the belief that having children rectifies the problem as they will become the caregivers and the memory holders. And yet, I can tell you with utter confidence that I know next to nothing about my great grandparents. My own grandparents are also a bit of a mystery to me, so at the end of it all they have become lost in the masses.

And why I thought about that as I stood in front of Asa Gray's grave is because Gray and his wife Jane never had any children, despite a well known desire for them. Gray was very parental with his younger brothers, housing and caring for them and it is believed that he was well-loved by his mentees. In short, Asa Gray's legacy lives on due to how he lived his life.

I drove around Mt. Auburn Cemetery for about 30 mins before I located Holly Path. Walking on foot among the old stones, I swear there was a hush from all the birds as I located the site. 




Standing at the foot of the grave, marveling at the beauty in its simplicity and how white the stone was despite being over a hundred years old, I found myself overcome with emotion. After all, what does one say to the dead, especially given my own belief that we don't just live a single lifetime? What I found myself asking and reflecting on out loud was that given all the change on the horizon is did I had the courage to continue to stand by my convictions and pursue what I believed in. To live the type of life I believed to be full and good; to take all the knowledge and lessons gained from the past 3 years forward with me as I begin this next chapter. Something that I'm very scared I'll fail at.

Yet seeing this physical evidence of someone who seemingly lived a life I admire gave me renewed courage to try, even though I know failure, disappointment and pain are certainly ahead. Because finding Asa Gray wasn't simply about learning more about a part of history; it was also about uncovering something about myself. 

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Humdrum

It's one of those days. The type where I'm feeling less than motivated to get out into the world and tackle the challenges in front of me. Part of this has to do with the fact that I already have my meetings scheduled for the day; another part is I've been hitting the pavement very hard for the past couple of days. But another part is feeling once again like I'm in limbo. The initial adrenaline surge following rejection only propels one so far.

Right now I'm living in the humdrum, aware of the tidal wave of change that is about to hit my life. Grey has renewed his search for rentals with plans to fly back to the West Coast soon to secure a new home. Once an address is secured, everything else on the list can be checked off. All racing against a ticking clock in hopes of our new beginning.

But in the meantime my body is telling me to rest. Even though my mind screams out in panic of the humdrum, it seems unavoidable.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

A new way to "date"

Sunday night, I found myself curled up on the couch and having an ugly cry. Snuggled up next to me were both cats as well as Grey, hugging me tightly as I vented all my frustration with the job hunting process. What triggered this breakdown was being 2 weeks out from my last interview and having no response about my status for this position. Wiping away angry tears, Grey whispered "Babe, you've got to let this one go. Don't let it get to you." The only reply I had for him was that this whole process was one giant reminder as to why I loathed dating so much. My teenage self reemerging as I was dealing with rejection all over again.

I found myself reflecting back on Sunday night after I got the official rejection letter on Monday. Instead of tears of frustration, I found myself surprisingly sober as I research how to respond to these CEOs and prepared to send out a couple more pain letters. There's so much similarity between dating and the job hunting process it's a bit eerie. And because of it I'm finding I'm once again forced to tackle existing demons surrounding self-worth and how I perceive myself in the world. And reassessing what it means to fail.

Over the past few months, I've begun picking Grey's brain to figure out how he hunts for jobs given that he's been fairly successful recently. Part of what he's got going for him is that he's now considered a "known" in the industry world. His name is now attached to some well-known firms and his managers are also well respected, adding weight to his credibility. But another thing that comes up is how Grey approaches the whole process. He's gotten very good at using any rejection or no as a networking opportunity and he also has figured out how to find the opportunities he knows will be a good fit for him. In other words, he avoids the usual "dating pools" (think speed dating, bars, Match.com, etc) as the likelihood he'll come out with something that interests him is a lot less likely and instead follows the sources and networks that are aligned with his interests. And he's also taken an approach of internalizing the "it's not you, it's me" response from those who have rejected him. In his eyes, if they don't want to work with him, then it is either not a good match or their loss.

All of this is completely contrary to how I've approached dating in the past. I remember my younger self obsessing about a potential love interest, worrying that somehow I came off has not likable or worthy of dating. Causal dating was never in the cards as I really was focused on the end goal (and hence why I really didn't date). Looking back, I see so many bad relationships where I should have run in the other direction. Guys that treated me awfully mainly because I gave them permission to do so. It's all the more reason Grey is so special, but also it reflects a pattern of how I've approached so many relationships in my life. Jobs included.

The truth is, I was very unhappy in my last position. Hearing now about the hours my former coworker works (10 pm nightly is the norm, with her rarely seeing her family during the week) leaves me shuddering. It would be one thing if this experience would have opened doors or created future opportunities, but like most toxic jobs the track-record is one where very few do (and those that do usually do so through a ugly divorce process). Being able to admit to myself that not having my contract renewed was actually a blessing is very odd. Admitting that I deserved better is even odder.

All of this has lead to some interesting changes recently. First is allowing myself to grieve the loss of what could have been. But then instead of dwelling and picking apart all I did wrong to lose an opportunity, I'm spending time focusing on what I learned. With this recent rejection letter, Grey pointed out that they want to keep my resume on file and to stay in touch. Today I need to test those waters to see if future opportunities would be possible. In addition, I've been getting bold and reaching out to people I previously would have seen as untouchable. I'm also cherry-picking for what positions I'm applying for. Will this opportunity actually allow me to meet my long-term goals? Because if I can't honestly answer that, then the application is being done in desperation. And no one likes to be the friend with benefits.

So I'm learning a new way to navigate this process. Dating like a guy, so to speak. All the while quieting the voice in the back of my head where I'm second-guessing all the boldness of assuming that I deserve to enjoy what I do for a living.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Deserved

Over the weekend, a dear friend delivered her baby. I've known my friend for over a decade and from the beginning was aware of her desire to be a mother. A doula who went to nursing school with the plan of going on to become a midwife (ironically, that didn't happen and she's now moved into hospice care), she was there for me when the Beats first arrived. Just as she's been there for so many others as they welcomed their children into the world.

Her journey to motherhood wasn't an easy one, though. Like so many, she found herself unable to conceive and I mourned with her the loss of her biological children. I would then go on to support her as she made the decision of pursuing donor egg IVF. Then it was celebrating with her with that first positive pregnancy test, rejoicing with each milestone met. This weekend was the finale of her journey, involved a massive group text, with well wishes and wishes of encouragement. There was a lot of joy surrounding the news of the safe arrival of her daughter.

Then someone mentioned how much she deserved this. And for the first time, I was given pause.

Because even though I do believe my friend deserves every happiness in the world and I'm over the moon for her and her husband, this comment comes on the heels of other arrival news.

On Sunday, my MIL informed Grey that family friends were great-grandparents once again. Of the arrival of a baby girl to their grandson who could barely keep a job and his wife who refused to work as she felt she should be cared for. Of the elder child, who is now a brother to this infant, who is dealing with such severe eczema that his skin is peeling off around this wrists and face and at the age of 4 is still not speaking.

And on this, I thought about "deserving." Because if I'm honest, though I believe my friend deserve every happiness and her daughter deserves her amazing mother and father, this other newborn deserves better than the parents she got. Just as so many in this community that I consider dear to me deserve to also be parenting.

Infertility and loss fuck with you that way. Turning terms like "deserved" and "blessed" on their heads and making you wonder about the games that are played. The polar opposite reactions to the exact same news: in one case I'm celebrating and sending well-wishes while in the other I'm mourning for the newborn.

So I'm left with wondering quietly about "deserved." Because the truth is life is far from fair. And though there are many children who find themselves in loving families, I can't help but think the outcomes for so many would be very different if deserved truly did exist.

Monday, February 26, 2018

#MicroblogMondays: Finding the view

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

It's Monday, which means I'm craving out 2 hours in the library to get a plan formulated for the next month. Emails need to be sent and my schedule rearranged. All this while half my contact list are just starting to roll out of bed and think about checking their email.

I learned long ago that I need periodic distraction to do long stretches of sitting. The best form for keeping my butt planted in a chair is some sort of view, allowing me to gaze out the window and take in the outside world all while willing me to finish all that needs to be done so I can rejoin it.

Here's my view this morning as I type away on my laptop. Likely not optimal, but it will definitely serve the purpose.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Good omens

This past week was my last workshop of the outreach program I've working with for the past 6 months. There were a total of 3 students, ranging in age from 12-14 years, with one who had a severe case of ADHD combined with some other behavioral problems. Given that there was zero guidance from the parents on how to engage this student, each day was it's own adventure.

The end result was that by the end of yesterday I was thoroughly exhausted. Commuting was an interesting experience given that my body was making it clear that a nap would be preferred to braving public transit and my brain had pretty much checked out when it came to details like timetables and traffic signals. So it took me about 3 blocks to realize I was walking in a heavy snowfall that wasn't sticking to the ground for very long. To notice the silence that was filling the streets, silencing all the external noise from the streets as well as the chatter in my head.

I was once told that snowfalls like this are good omens. That the peace and silence that comes is meant to signify calm and wisdom during moments of change and uncertainty. Snowfalls in general have happened during life-changing moments that usher in good things. And given all the uncertainty at the moment, a promise of good is very welcome.

So today, though the snow has melted, I'm focusing on this good omen and hoping for some good news soon. I could really use it.

Monday, February 19, 2018

#MicroblogMondays: vorfreude

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.



It snowed on Saturday. And as beautiful as that snowfall was, the demand of snow clean-up so my landlord could show our unit left me officially done with our current situation. 

But instead of hating on my landlord and everyone else who has abused us, I'm choosing to be filled with vorfreude for this pending move. Daydreaming about seeing daffodils and tulips again very soon.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Wins

I'm officially in limbo with a timeline. On Wednesday, following a lot of encouragement from BnB and Grey (including Grey editing a draft of an email), I reached out to the CEO of the company I interviewed with. I didn't expect any follow up, so I was pleased when I received a response that evening:
Cristy,
We should be wrapping up this stage around the end of next week and will be in touch then with next steps.
We really enjoyed meeting you and hearing about your work to date!
Feel free to interrupt as you will.

Since calming down (read no longer obsessive checking my email) and on the heels of getting some responses to the Pain Letters I've sent out (FYI: Those work!) as well as arranging informational/informal interviews with a couple of companies that has resulted in an offer for a freelancing opportunity, I've been thinking more about the power of wins, even the smallest ones, in helping motive people. In the business world this is referred to as "Reward Power" but we see this mindset in our daily lives too.

Yet despite this knowledge, we live in an era where there's a mentally of using the stick more than the carrot to motivate people. Just open the newspaper to get the latest examples of this form of motivation, with stress-inducing tactics being used daily to promote the wants of those arguing. And yet, there's so much data about how these tactics rarely work without the coupling of some form of positive reenforcement. That without the wins, the consequences will simply backfire.

On Thursday I had a phone conference with an assessor who observed He-Beat. One of the major concerns the Beats's old daycare brought up was ADHD and an inability to follow basic directions. I came to the meeting armed with information and questions. So imagine my complete shock when I learned that the assessor did not have these concerns but also that neither did He-Beat's current teacher. That not only has separating the Beats been a wonderful thing for both of them, but also that his current teacher is skill at positive reenforcement and he is thriving with her. That giving him a chance to succeed is what has been making all the difference and was something that the Beats's former teachers failed to do over and over again.

Failure is a lot more draining then most people understand. And its failure I've been thinking about this past week following the news of this past week. Seeing the portrait of an individual who seemed to fail in all aspects in life and lacked some of the basic privileges most of us take for granted, I cannot help but wonder if a root of so much unhappiness is never feeling like there are any meaningful wins. I understand that most situations are extremely complex and seemingly impossible to tackle, but if infertility taught me one thing it's that those wins in the face of trauma can make the difference between getting out of bed in the morning vs losing one's mind.

So today, I'm back at it. Reaching out to total strangers and introducing myself as someone who thinks their company sounds pretty amazing (not hard to do). All on the heels of rewarding He-Beat for his good behavior this morning, watching his face light up with the knowledge of a job well done. All the while me knowing I can do this as I've gotten a recent boost of confidence and positive feedback as otherwise I would be kicking myself for being so bold.

These wins are making the difference.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Up to 30

My newsfeed came alive last night as I was making my way to pick up the Beats from school. Sitting in the car, I scrolled through the updates: 17 dead, suspect is known. All this morning, the newspapers are picking apart every detail about the 30th school shooting in 2018. The 10th deadliest mass murder in US history.

I wish shock and horror were emotions I could feel over such news that has become normal. That I didn't have to have discussions with my kids about lock-down protocols.

Like Juilette Kayyem, I'm tired of all of this. I'm tired of the fact that nothing is being done by our leaders to address a glaring problem.

But then again, our current leadership has made it clear they are only interested in themselves and their wallets. A generation of sociopaths at the helm who aren't able to turn the tide as it's completely against how they've lived their lives.

That's the thing with change: those that resist it tend to lose when the pain of not doing so becomes unbearable. Holding back the tidal wave becomes impossible. My hope is that tidal wave is coming, growing in strength and fierceness with each incident, lie and exposure. A hope that people will decide they've had enough, wanting to rebuild the bridges that were destroyed.

For now, all I can muster is sadness and numbness with the knowledge that we are now up to 30. And the empty words from those who are suppose to be doing something are falling on deaf ears.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Wooing humans

I knew I was in trouble after the second text message.
"Good morning! Just checking in on your beautiful kitties. They are absolute sweethearts and are doing great! And Jaxson is such a flirt. ;)"

Sitting waiting for my interview, I couldn't help but laugh given I knew exactly what was happening. And I wondered if I would be returning to Boston only to find that I was now missing two cats.

Jaxson has a long history of being a Don Juan. When I first adopted him, I was living with 4 other women and he was constantly failing to win their approval. What cemented a change in his approach in wooing was when we adopted Daisy, with him enduring 3 solids days of getting the crap kicked out of him by a female who was half his weight. It was while Daisy was on Valium (prescribed to calm her down and give Jaxson a fighting chance), that he modified his approach for interacting with the opposite sex. He became more cuddly, perfecting his glances and friendly approaches. Most of all, he learned that giving affection would result in gaining in.

And with that, not only did Daisy decide he was okay (and they have been inseparable since), but he became quite a force to be contended with for every single one of my girlfriends regardless of whether they were attached or not.

Over the past decade, Grey and I both have received comments about how unusually friendly Jaxson and Daisy are. While most cats tend to hide or pretend to be uninterested when there are visitors, these two are always front and center, greeting people at the door and making sure they have an opportunity to inspect everyone that enters their home. Jaxson usually brings an additional level to this interaction, following all of this introductions with putting on a display of affection. From flopping over and rolling around while purring, to giving paw taps and nuzzling and topping it all off with slow blinks combined with making sure just to touch you, I've seen him win over individuals who proclaim they are only dog people.

Where the problems come in, though, are when he claims someone. Especially when that someone (who is usually female) has a partner. The worst incident was during a dinner party, where the couple visiting was clearly still in the middle of a disagreement. Within minutes, Jaxson was in her lap, giving her all his love and attention while occasionally farting in her significant other's general direction.

Pets are funny this way, given the intimate interactions they have with another species on a daily basis. There's a lot of things I've learned over the years from not only Jaxson and Daisy, but most of the animals I've interacted with. From Jaxson, though, I've had a constant reminder on how love not war can win the day time and time again. From calming a severely stressed Cristy to milking hours of pets out of people, he's truly impressive to watch.

Plus Grey has learned adapted a few of his moves too, which sadly can be quite successful. Demonstrating that there is an art to wooing humans.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Working through the waiting pain

It's been 7 days since my interview. The emotional roller coaster that comes with waiting reminds me of how much I loathed dating in my younger years. Between moments of despair where I'm kicking myself from not making a better impression to high moments where I'm feeling optimistic to moments where I just don't care anymore, it's been an interesting few days.

This morning, I made the decision to get back on the job application horse, specifically in the form of drafting my first pain letter. After spending the past couple of days researching and determining who the hiring managers are, I'm been ignoring every bit of worry and anxiety and reaching out to complete strangers with the idea of simply getting on their radar. So far, I haven't died from hitting the "Send" button. But my reward tonight is to crawl under a blanket with these two.


I hate waiting. Uncertainty is nothing short of the 9th circle of hell for me, especially when so much is riding on decisions that I no longer have control over. So I'm learning to work through the waiting pain, giving myself plenty of distractions while also being mindful that something will pan out in the end. Despite the fact that my anxiety is trying to convince me otherwise.

Monday, February 12, 2018

#MicroblogMondays: In the aftermath

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

This last week was filled with a lot of firsts. The first time I've flown alone with the Beats, the first extended trip for Grey (he began his new position this week, which is 10 days of him out on the West Coast), first purchases and uses of new electronics to keep the Beats occupied, the first time we've ever hired a pet sitter (and another post to come given that Jaxson has a new girlfriend). And the first time I've spent more than 8 hours away from the Beats.

I'll spare you the details of how traveling with two 4 years solo for the first time went, but the whole situation went better than expected even though its clear everyone involved was stressed out. Still we're all recovering from two 3 hour time changes and another weekend to recover is direly needed.

In addition to this, I survived my interview. I went in feeling prepared and excited, walking out feeling confident that all had gone well. I even managed to catch the earlier flight back to Seattle and got a free glass of Prosecco, which I took to be a good omen.

By Friday all of that had worn off, with me second-guessing the interview (was just shy of 2 hours even though they told me to expect 2-3) and me realizing I accidentally called one of the founders by the wrong name. Cue lots of kicking myself.

The truth is, there was a lot that could have gone better all around. From navigating the airport to entertaining the kids to working on my interviewing skills (hence all the beating myself up). But I learned a lot, particularly with what we can do this. All the things that were seemingly impossible before, like flying solo with 2 small children, spending the night away and me even going on an interview for an position in industry, is now possible.

The past few days there's been a lot of conflicting emotions, fueled by the fact I'm in limbo with waiting on a decision combined with knowing that I have to move on with job hunting and the rest of my day-to-day. There's so much uncertainty on the horizon with preparing for this cross-country move, enough of which that my grey hairs are increasing in number almost daily. But there's so much excitement too. Grey is loving his new position and the company is treating him incredibly well.

So we're living in the aftermath of this first leg of the journey. Attempting to get back into the swing of things for a chapter that is coming to an end. All with me trying to find a way to end it on a positive note, setting the stage for what is to come.



Thursday, February 1, 2018

Traffic delay due to turkey

It's 4 pm and traffic is at a dead stop. Occasionally there's a slow crawl forward, but it's clear by the sea of red tail-lights no one is going anywhere fast. In an attempt to determine what is going on, I roll down my window, allowing me to crane my neck. And that's when I hear swearing and shouting, with phrases like "stupid bird" and "begging to be dinner" littering the air. Suddenly traffic begins to crawl forward and that is when a 4 ft winged brown figure comes into view, clearly agitated and making body motions that warn every human of the consequences of getting too close. The swearing and threats continue as people drive by, but it's also clear no one is willing to risk getting too close to this singular wild turkey that is roaming the streets of Cambridge.

All I can do in the moment is laugh, thinking of the reaction I will get once I give my explanation for why I'm running late.

The whole week has been an exercise in navigating turkeys. I'm currently two days into a workshop training 20 university-level students from China that requires 7 hours of teaching each day, not including prep. They are doing amazingly well, but given the language barrier we are all suffering from severe exhaustion (yesterday they were visibly relieved to have a guest speaker who spoke Mandarin).  In addition to this, Grey and I have been finalizing travel plans as I officially have an interview a week from Wednesday. On top of preparing a talk on material I haven't touched in over a year, I will also be flying solo with the Beats to Seattle as they will be staying with my amazing aunt and uncle while I'm doing said interview. Both kids are extremely excited about the upcoming trip. Grey is doing enough worrying for all adults involved. All of this on top of me teaching my other course, making arrangements for students to access training to do Illumina sequencing, learn Unix and figure out a weekly meeting to discuss research progress.

The odd part about all of this is even though I know I'm stressed from all that is happening and upcoming, I'm actually in a weird state of rolling with it. Part of it is I'm too tired from being stressed out to thinking of anything else, but like encountering the turkey in traffic I also know the only way to resolve any inconvenience or stress involves not pissing off the agitated bird.

Monday, January 29, 2018

#MicroblogMondays: A new way to juggle

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

I have been invited for an interview. Last Thursday, I had a phone interview with a new company that is looking for a synthetic/plant biologist. Normally I've looked beyond researcher positions, but the work this group is doing sounds insanely cool and curiosity got the better of me so I applied. Three days later, I heard from the CTO asking to schedule a phone interview. Apparently the 30 min phone conversation went well because instead of contacting me later this week as originally planned, I got an email yesterday (Sunday) asking for me to fly out as soon as possible.

This is where things get tricky. This whole week I'm running a workshop for 25 visiting Chinese scholars for this science education program I've been working for. The mere suggestion that I wouldn't be around for one day threw my director into an utter panic because there is literally NO ONE else that can take over (which is insanely scary because now it's begging destiny to find some way to fuck all of that up). So this week is out.

The added pickle is that Grey flies out to the West Coast to begin his new position a week from Tuesday. Meaning Monday is really the only day I can interview, assuming everything works out perfectly with flights arriving on time and no delays what so ever.

Which everyone knows is the perfect recipe for disaster.

So the game plan right now is the Beats are likely going to be coming with me to the West Coast. Grey and I are trying to determine if that will be Seattle or down to California. I'm lending towards Seattle if the interview is next Monday as that will give the Beats time to settle and doesn't mean crazy rearrangement of travel for Grey, but it all depends on when the interview will be. From there, I will either fly to California or be leaving both Beats in the care of Moon (hopefully with Grey there). 

All this on top of teaching this brand new course your's truly has designed and figuring out how to care for Jaxson and Daisy as literally no one local has stepped forward to help us out.


Wish me luck with figuring out this new form of pretzel juggling. 

Thursday, January 25, 2018

The art of divorcing

This morning, Grey sent termination letters for our lease to our landlord. Both of us have spent hours reviewing the language on our lease in combination with Massachusetts laws about uninhabitable living conditions and talking with a lawyer in order to make sure that when we do this, we know what our recourse is when our landlord freaks out.

In addition, Grey has spent this week giving notice at his current employer. Not surprising, everyone except for the problematic supervisor has wished him well and been open to working with him as he prepares to leave. All of it a delicate process though, particularly as the problematic manager is angry that he would dare to leave.

All of this has had me thinking more and more about relationships and how we end them. Whether personal or professional, bonds are formed when people decide to become part of a group and it's literally impossible to exclude emotions in the process. Which means that no matter what the relationship, the severing of ties will result in feelings of loss. In the best of circumstances and situations this usually means there's some sadness, but where the drama comes is when one party either feels wronged or there's some level of toxicity.

This is an area I fail at. For years Cyrol stalked me, intensifying his attacks even when you ignored him. I've had others who have attacked over and over again despite my unwillingness to engage, wanting to pin all the wrongs in a failed relationship solely on me. What I've learned in some fairly painful ways is that despite what I was taught and told, firm boundaries often need to be put into place backed with consequences for testing them. With Cyrol, it took standing our ground and countersuing him. Even then he wouldn't stop, insisting on emailing. Further protections have since been put into place, but it's only when he's been harmed  by his actions (financially and socially) that he's redirected. We haven't had to be this extreme with others situations, but having a lawyer on standby and already contacting the Board of Health are components we have currently have in our back pockets. And with the problematic supervisor it's been keeping documentation and alerting HR.

The end goal of all of this is simple: we want all involved to simply let us terminate the contracts and allow us to move on. Neither Grey or I want to fight. And yet, there's an art to divorcing and making sure that the temptations to retaliate are quickly eliminated.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Wooing cats

It's an innocent enough scene: Daisy walks through the doorway, giving a distinct meow that sounds mixed with a purr indicating that she's looking for attention. Laying on a pad on the floor of the Beats' bedroom, I give her a quick scratching knowing that she now has 2 other sets of eyes glued on her movements.

"Daisy! Please come here!" exclaims one child while another has shoved hand from out under a blanket in an attempt to attract her attention.

True to cat form, Daisy begins a typical dance of maneuvering just out of reach while exploring their beds and deciding whether allowing them to pet her is a justifiable reward.

Since the Beats came home, Grey and I have been juggling the relationship between the felines and the small humans. From tail pulling with instructions about gentle touches to the ongoing fight over claimed sleeping space, the relationship has been continuously evolving. Within the last year, though, both Beats have taken a particular interest in both cats. Whereas before momentary interactions where fine, my mornings are now spent making sure both felines have clear escape routes and reminding both children that the kitties need to be respected at all times. The contrast in their natures makes it difficult for them to understand one another, finding common ground for forging a relationship.

Or at least that was what I had been telling myself up to this morning.

At 6 am, following both Beats waking up and leading a very sleepy Cristy downstairs, I found a scene in the kitchen that immediately made me freeze: an open refrigerator and 4 organisms that were not human adults exploring. It didn't take HeBeat long to find the aliquot of cat food, with him getting it onto the counter ready to distribute, but the look on both cats faces clearly revealed that this recent development was one to their liking. Head butts and paw taps quickly conveyed the message to these two preschoolers, particularly when both Beats proceeded to demonstrate that they could overcome the child-safety locks on the cabinet doors too.

In short, Grey and Cristy are officially screwed as a new alliance is officially brewing. And though I realize they all certainly have a long way to go with the wooing process, the fact something has finally started to click both elates and terrifies me.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Undoing it wrong

I hate job hunting. The sifting through ads, locating positions, tailoring of cover letters and resumes. The hours upon hours spent putting together an application knowing that it will be submitted to the black-hole that is HR where likely it will end up in the "no" pile. All of it is depressing.

And yet, it's necessary. The option of not working is not there for me given that 1) we need the money and 2) a gap in employment is frowned on in my field.

The thing is, I know I'm doing this all wrong. That I'm not utilizing my network as much as I should be. That all of that comes down to a sense of not wanting to bug others or make them feel like I'm using them to get ahead. There's also the pride of wanting to stand on my own two feet.

Despite this, I know very well that jobs come from having connections and an in. Someone who knows someone else that can make something happen.

It's funny how often this works in life. After being raised to value standing on one's own feet and pulling your own weight, I've seen countless examples how false this thinking is. Those that ask for help tend to be more successful with finding both opportunities and solutions. It's certainly been the case with infertility and yet there's a voice in the back of my head that is beating me up for engaging. A judgement about how I'm bothering others into doing something I should be able to do on my own.

Today, I'm owning this and attempting to undo all I've been doing wrong. I'm attempting to ignore those voices that scream at me as I send some of those first emails. In addition, Grey and I will be sitting down where I'll be getting a crash course on connecting with recruiters. Praying the whole way I'm not offending anyone and that they'll answer me.

It's time and I know it. I just wish there was a way to undo all the negative chatter that's going on in my head.

Monday, January 22, 2018

#MicroblogMondays: scary excitement

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

On Sunday, following a failed attempt at nap-time, I found Grey on the couch in tears. While resting and connecting with friends back West, he allowed himself to reflect on all that has happened and what is coming resulting in a release of emotions. Through tears, he hugged me and whispered "I don't have to die here." 

One of many statements that sums up all the emotions from the past few years.

There is so much good on the horizon. The Beats are very excited about moving, wanting to see this new land with mountains and ocean. In addition there are many on the other end who are already stepping up in major ways to help us, offering advice on where to find rentals and making plans to help us land.

But with the excitement comes the sadness and anger. I do not have work lined up nor do we have any idea of how to transition the Beats (continue Preschool vs. me homeschooling them? How to jive this with finding work and making sure that we don't end up in another bad situation). I'm already so sad and worried as we're giving notice to their schools today (I'm really going to miss these teachers) and we've also have the unpleasant business of informing our landlord we're terminating the lease (lawyer and Board of Health are already lined up to make it clear she has much to lose if she decides to fight that). 

So we're trying to ride the scary excitement; our own happy/sad. 

Thursday, January 18, 2018

The best laid plans . . . .

Last night, following Grey's news, I began emailing colleagues to set up meetings. Though some had been alerting about me potentially leaving, plans had been made with the idea of proceeding like nothing was changing. Though Grey hasn't signed a contract yet, we're proceeding with good faith on this offer.

Which means I have to figure out how to structure a transition without leaving anyone but myself hanging.

For one program, this has already been worked out for me. My replacement was hired last week and it's just a matter of scheduling meetings to begin handing off materials.

But the course I'm teaching is far more complex. Given the weird way the institution does enrollment (only after the first week of class) I currently have zero clue how many students I'll actually be overseeing. In addition, as it's a research course, the structure is much less defined. The final wrinkle is a got pretty ambitious and have designed a project that will incorporate engineering with genetics where the students how to do Next-Generation sequencing. Right now I'm floating collaborations between the Physics department, BioInformatics and the Genome Center. Far from plug and play.

E and I met this morning to strategize how best to move forward. On one hand, I have identified someone who would be an ideal replacement, with us potentially splitting the responsibilities and me guiding her through this craziness I've designed. The problem with this is that I would lose health insurance and other benefits in addition to pay. The other option is to have her waiting in the wings, taking over my appointment, but I have zero clue if anyone will go for that.

The added wrinkle is after a year of development, I'm fairly invested in this project. My goal was to put together grant applications over the summer using the data the students generated. Handing this completely off to someone else is something I'd like to avoid doing.

Still, the priority is moving and focusing on transitioning. My current set up is far from sustainable and was always meant to be temporary. So today I'm modifying plans, figuring out a way to allow things to continue without me steering those ships. Despite how much I was wishing I had more control.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Drumroll, please

They made Grey a good offer. He still needs to work out the details with the recruiter, but it's clear this company wants to make this happen.

West Coast here we come.

Hiding out

It's snowing today. A wet fluffy snow that muffles sound and forces everyone to slow down. The Beats awoke shrieking with utter excitement about the white blankets on the lawn, happily opening the front doors to show two less than enthused cats.

But snow is also a symbol of transition for Grey and me. Snow usually brings with it big changes and events.

Which is fitting as today we're expected an answer about the job Grey interviewed for on the West Coast.

The past few days have been ones filled with anxiety. Grey's interview on Friday apparently went very well with a lot of good feedback. He had an opportunity to check out the town he would be working in, that was very bikeable, had access to transit and, most importantly, lots of rental options that didn't exclude pets (which has been a massive problem in Boston unless one is willing to get into the $3000 per month rental category). Grey returned on Saturday carrying with him West Coast glow. Though we know there will be challenges and other less desirable factors to deal with, it's been the most optimistic I've seen him in almost 3 years.

On Monday, the glow disappeared due to an email from one of the project supervisors he's working with. And with that email all the conflicts and frustrations came back, leaving us both feeling fairly insecure. The day ended with a shot of hope, though, with an email from one of the people he had interviewed with telling him the visit went very well and he should be hearing news soon.

The problem with emotional roller coasters like this is I find myself wanting to hide out. Sharing with people seems so premature and foolhardy. Yes, there's reason to hope about the news today and I'm fairly certain this company is going to make him an offer, but I'm also seasoned enough to know that the offer could be low or have some undesirable strings attached. Nothing is certain.

So instead of obsessing about the "what ifs," I've locked myself in the library for the day, working on ordering supplies, drafting a presentation for my class and working on next steps.



All the while knowing that in less than 7 hours we will have an answer and more information.
 
Design by Small Bird Studios | All Rights Reserved