Friday, November 17, 2017

Pauses

About 6 months ago, the Beats and I established a new morning ritual. Following a 6 am wake-up call (side note: I haven't needed an alarm clock in over 4 years), both the Beats and cats lead me downstairs to help empty the dishwasher and feed Jaxson and Daisy. Once completed, we begin breakfast. On days I don't have my act together, it's cereal and apple sauce. But on other days, it's a ritual of preparing waffles, with them loading their breakfast into the toaster to be warmed up. The weekends are more involved as I'll make said waffles, allowing them to help with preparing the recipe: 2 cups flour, 1 Tbsp sugar, 1/2 tps salt, 1/4 tps baking soda, 1 1/2 tps baking powder, 2 egg yolks, 1 tsp vanilla, 1/4 cup melted butter, 1 1/2 cups cultured buttermilk and 2 egg whites (beat to slightly-stiff peaks).

It's these morning moments, even though my brain is barely awake, that have been staying with me. The forced pauses in the rush to get out the door in the morning. They're reminders for why Grey and I fight to carve out a space for our family in this world. From seeing Jaxson sit up on his haunches, eyes trained on the bowl of food He-Beat is bringing him; rewarding He-Beat with a quick head butt to say "thank you" as soon as his bowl is placed on the floor. Or seeing She-Beat as she hands me spoons or glasses out of the dishwasher, her face frozen in fixed concentration as she remembers where all the dishes belong. Or seeing both Beats wait patiently by the toaster, all the while informing me about the art of waffle warming and the next steps of maple syrup application and cutting that need to happen.

All of this is in stark contrast to the rest of my day. The rushing around, frantic checking-off of items on the to-do, the job applications and planning for an uncertain future. The feeling of having to race to the finish line, be it the day, the month or the contract with no clear end in sight.

Not surprising, it's not the rush, but the pauses that give me peace; that form the memories and magic moments. Starting with memories from long ago of sleeping in late, cuddling with Grey. Of kitten Jaxson curled up on Grey's lap in the car as we drove to see my in-law. Of the hikes through cedar forests and camping trips by hotsprings. Of morning playmat sessions while I was pumping. And now with unloading the dishwasher and warming up waffles.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Dive

Job hunting has put me into a weird headspace. Scanning job boards, drafting cover letters and reaching out for new network connections has been a draining process. On some days, I'm able to kick out at least 2-3 applications, finding a way to muster the energy to seeing myself in the role and how bringing me in as part of the team would benefit that company.

What's hard, though, is expecting the rejection. Knowing that most of the time this ad was written with a particular person already in mind and that rejection letters will likely follow.

All of this reminds me of infertility and being in treatment. The mindset that can readily set in from too many failed attempts of doing the same thing over and over.

I've been thinking about this all morning as I ran my first educational program. One that I helped design and was in charge of executing. In so many ways, there's how I wanted it to play out and how it actually went. How even though the outcome wasn't what I expected, there was a lot of amazing things that came from it.

With fertility treatments, Grey and I ultimately did get the expected outcome. We got to experience pregnancy and bring home our babies. But the road we traveled, the people we met along the way and seeing the paths towards resolution most wouldn't consider were unexpected outcomes. I exited the infertility waiting room changed in a way that I never expected, teaching me to dive into realms of possibilities that have shaped me for the better.

So that's what I've been holding on to. The assumption that there are things I shouldn't consider or paths I shouldn't follow has been thrown out the door. Because at the end of the day, who knows what the outcome will be from that increasing pile of rejection letters or failed endeavors. What if it was all about just having the courage to try, diving into the unknown?

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Slow

This morning, I took with the Beats with me to visit She-Beat's new school. He-Beat had zero trouble integrating, but She-Beat took her time. Within a few minutes, she was settled for Circle Time, participating in the morning activities.

Yesterday, I reached out to a recruiter to begin the process of finding contract work. Given my extended stay in academia, I know industry has zero idea how my skill set will transfer, so I'm in need of help with this transition. The recruiter did a nice job asking needed clarifying questions, giving me guidance on what not to do and laying out a plan for next steps.

Later today, our landlord is having a HVAC professional come to our rental to assess the oil tank and furnace, hopefully also identifying why we have no heat in our bedroom.

Finally, Grey has been given some clarifying news about his situation. The fact that there are competing parties who once again are competing for him, but also the suggestion that he apply for a position that he was told wasn't for him (that hiring manager apparently was reprimanded as they've been backtracking a lot).

All of this is happening slowly. Bit by bit, the pieces are coming together. There's still a lot of fighting and hard feelings; grief over what has been lost (trust being a big one). But there's movement. There's change. With me praying that it will all be for the better.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Coming out of it

So yeah. Yesterday. . . .

The interview was awesome. Truly. I love the team, the mission and what they are envisioning for the future. And I could see not only how I could fit into the group, but could grow. I truly felt that a younger version of me who didn't have to worry about silly things like finances would thrive there.

But that's thing, I do have worry about finances. I do have small children to consider and all financial support for my family comes from Grey and me.

And so I spent yesterday facing a very hard and fast reality that I can no longer pursue this work. That as much as I believe in what I've been doing, it's been hurting the Beats and Grey. I've sacrificed them for too long and it has to stop.

We live in a world where the focus from our leadership is "me and mine." As those in power point fingers at one another, spending their waking hours trying to shuffle blame, what they fail to see is how avoiding the needed hard work is hurting the majority. Those that serve our communities and help them grow (teachers, social workers, emergency personal) have been minimized and punished for too long. Greed has become the driving force for those who lead this nation and our world. And it's a scary thought as greed, fear and hatred have never been rallying points for building and overcoming hardship.

Today I'm closing the door on a chapter that I truly loved. I'm beginning the process to apply for positions that will allow me to use my science training in more corporate settings. It all makes me so sad as it's not what I wanted or envisioned.

But the truth is neither the world we currently live in. And I'm beyond tired of fighting a battle at the expense of those I care most about.


Monday, November 13, 2017

#MicroblogMondays: Visualize

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

This morning I had an interview for a new position. It went very well, with a fruitful discussion afterwards. I love the mission of this organization, which is job training and placement for those who are socio-economically disadvantaged. 

The problem is the pay. The insanely low pay that doesn't cover childcare. 

Years ago, a woman I was climbing with had an affirmation in her kitchen reminding her to visualize her end goals. In her case, it was finding employment that would allow her the ability to pay her bills while giving her the freedom to pursue rock climbing. But the affirmation was a universal one.

And that's what I'm trying to do at the moment. Instead of panicking and throwing all this hard work out the window, I'm trying to put together an image of what I want. Even if it's just for the short-term. To visualize an end-goal that promotes my family.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Punching back

I'm exhausted. After a running an educational program yesterday (which went very well and was a lot of fun), spending the evening filling out new enrollment forms and prepping for an interview tomorrow, a nap is what I was looking forward to today.

Until I learned that our bedroom doesn't have any heat. Making it not habitable. And it would be one thing if this was the only issue, but when the lawyer mentioned "Board of Health" combined with "shutting her property down," I found my head spinning.

I'm so fucking tried of fighting with people. Of being treated terribly by others for no reason other than I don't come from specific social circles. Now that we've hit the unlawful end, though, it's time to start punching back.

And that's probably the most baffling of all. That it takes setting boundaries and informing people of "no" in order to get them to behave. Sure, there's in initial argument. Them fighting to convince you that the problem actually lies with you. But when the dust settles and the facts are laid out, these same people them treat you better if for no other reason than that they hate the bloody nose or cracked teeth they received in the process.

So we're contacting a lawyer again, figuring out what we can and cannot do. We're looking for options for housing, but also for jobs elsewhere in the country and/or the world. Because after living with a leaking oil tank, a broken furnace and so many other problems, why not.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Fighting together

Yesterday was pretty shitty. Following spending the morning crying my eyes out during the enrollment termination meeting, I spent midmorning reviewing the course I'm helping with (the graduate students are being buttheads, but the thought on how to address said buttheadedness has revealed polar opposite viewpoints). I ended the day with another rejection letter (not the position I'm interviewing for on Monday), leaving me feeling extremely deflated.

None of that was helpful to Grey when he walked through the door and announced that work is fucking with him again. He's frustrated as they continue to give him stellar reviews, but then dick with him about his contract. They did this a few months ago, hemming and hawing his employment status and only got things together when they got word another company was interested in hiring him (this lead to more infighting when it also became apparent that each group leader wanted him on their project, meaning he was booked up 200%, which has since been rectified). He's been feeling like the dirty secret in this relationship with them sending signals they aren't interested in truly committing. So coming home on the heels of a shitty news combined with more shitty news didn't combine for a great evening.

One of the things Grey and I have been struggling with is how to fight together. Part of this comes with feeling safe to vent frustrations with one another, but being frustrated by more negative news that adds to the frustrations. The additional part is just being so exhausted. Our careers haven't been stable in a very long time and the training we've received never truly prepared us for what we're both facing now. The mental gymnastics we both do for our careers is exhausting in and of itself, never mind throwing in all the recent drama with daycare and our housing

The thing is, I also know that when we fight together, we're a pretty amazing force. I've lost count of the examples I can give you where we've tackled a problem together resulting in an outcome that exceeds expectations (if not frightens the offending party). We're pretty damn awesome at playing to each other's strengths, covering for the weakness or struggles and building towards what we want. It's just a matter of setting the stage, giving us both time to plan and assess. And not feeling attacked or undermined.

That’s the part that messing with us: setting the stage. Identifying what we both want and strategizing each of our roles in order to get to that end goal. Because as of late, there’s been way too much to navigate. With the daycare, it’s buying time until we can firm up enrollment at the new schools. With housing, it’s deciding if our landlord is moving fast enough vs deciding to find a new place (though we did learn she has violated the lease). And with our careers it’s a matter of figuring out what we’re each willing to live with. Each of these is a project in and of itself.

So we’re trying. Often unsuccessfully, but still getting back on that horse. Because the only other option is to fight one another. And frankly, that would be the worst fight of all.
 
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