Mid-May

So many things.

At around 3:30 a.m. Monday morning, I emailed a draft of my thesis to my adviser.  Then I held my breath, because my field work involved SO many different kinds of monitoring.  I won’t go into it here in any specific detail, suffice to say there were about half a dozen different monitoring things going on in my study area.  One of these things was a new monitoring project I put together (and it was pretty effing big).  The rest were things I had inherited from my adviser’s previous grad student.  For my thesis I had done analyses and writeups for my project plus one of the other inherited things.  I was terrified that my adviser was going to insist that I do analyses and writeups on ALL the things.  But!  He didn’t insist.  Thankyouthankyou Mr. Adviser.  You may wonder why we had not settled out the question of what should go in my thesis long ago, and I agree, but this has been a rather difficult relationship, and the parameters of my responsibilities have never been completely clear to me.  My fault, my adviser’s fault, I dunno.  None of that matters anymore, though.  I see the light at the end of the thesis tunnel….

J took a new job, and it started last week.  It’s with an organization we have both worked for in the past, and it’s a good organization.  There is the potential for J to work her way into something permanent with these people, though it is uncertain whether we will be able to remain in Boise.  We both really love Boise, so this is somewhat distressing.  But so is unemployment / underemployment.  We will have to take the challenges as they come.

Now that J has a new job with new challenges and possibilities, she seems to be in a better emotional place.  It’s hard to tell, though.  J is gone for work and won’t be around for most of the summer, so right now we are experiencing a sort of ‘time out’ from relationship and family difficulties.  We talk on the phone and message one another just about every night.  She seems to have a positive attitude, she says she misses me, and she tells me to hug the baby for her.  I hope when the summer ends J will be able to find happiness at home.  I admit to feeling weary and a little wary about letting myself become too hopeful on this topic.

My sister has finished both chemo and radiation and is starting to grow hair again.  So far all appears to be well, but she may need to have her spleen removed.  We won’t know about that for a few weeks, I think.  Over-all her prognosis is really good.

My mother-in-law has been unwell for almost two years and there is still no definite diagnosis.  She has been undergoing various tests and I just hope we hear some good news about her soon.  Relations with her and with J’s step-dad have been awkward for a while now, since contrary to what I had thought originally, they have not taken J’s ‘I am transgender’ announcement well.  There hasn’t been a confrontation really, but J’s step-dad is a preacher.  J asked him a while ago (via Facebook) what his take was on transgenderism, and his step-dad said he believed it was a sin.  I talked to my in-laws on the phone on Mother’s Day, and they were both still using J’s old name.  That was supremely awkward, more so because J’s mom was in the hospital at the time.  I didn’t call them out, but I said the new name and they said the old name and I got off the phone and felt awful.  Not sure where all this is going to go.  I wish relationships were simple.

My job hunt has run out of gas and is sputtering on the edge of the highway like… Well, like a car without gas.  It’s okay though.  I’m kind of nervous about finances, but with J gone 100% of the time from now until maybe September, I really have to be realistic when I look at job announcements.  Is there overtime?  Evening hours?  Is the pay really going to make up for a work shift that is not 8-5 M-F?  Is the pay worth it at all?  In the last half year I’ve been through quite a few interviews and it is pretty discouraging.  I’m starting to understand why so many moms in my parent group are trying to make a go at monetizing hobbies.  This week I started to think about picking up illustration again and trying to break into the children’s book market.  Or maybe attempting to freelance articles, maybe attempt to do some natural resource-related journalism.  It seems wildly unrealistic that I would succeed at any of these things, but on the other hand, a real job seems like a pretty fanciful concept at the moment, too.

The garden is planted!  All the starter plants are small and ridiculous in the wide swaths of dirt prepared for them, but if all goes well they will grow and spread out to fill the space in the coming months.

Today I went on a walk, along a path I used to visit frequently with Ziggy.  I hadn’t been there since her death, because there was some sort of maintenance going on and the trail was blocked for a while.  I have been to most of the other places Ziggy and I used to go walking.  Today when I decided to visit this particular trail, I felt excited, almost anxious.  I hadn’t felt that emotional for about a month…  (Speaking of, it’s just past three months since Ziggy died.)  I don’t even talk to people about this anymore.  There is nothing anybody can say, and at some point you realize the subject has to drop.  But I still think about Zig.  I realized today, going to the trail, that I have used up a lot of the emotion surrounding the other places I used to go with Zig.  I’ve been to those other places, and I’ve experienced what it is like to wander around those places without her, and there is a sort of ending in that.  Today I felt almost like I would if my dog had run away from home and I was trying to think of places she’d be likely to go.  I knew Zig wasn’t going to be on this trail, but it felt like maybe she would be.  I felt like maybe there would be something significant about walking in that place again that would make me feel different.  But it was just like the other times — She wasn’t there, and all I could do was gather up my emotions and move on.  All the same, it felt good to visit that place.  It’s somewhere I’d been itching to see again.  Next time I go I won’t feel as excited, but the place itself won’t make me feel quite as sad, either.

Lastly, Little Guy is almost a year old!  J will be home to celebrate the weekend before his birthday.  I think it will be a quiet celebration this year.  I am glad to have this time to be home with my baby.  I sometimes don’t think I have been very fair to him this year.  I have so often been distracted, angry or sad or frustrated at other things going on in my life.  I wonder if I should be doing more with my little dude.  We go outside a lot.  I read to him, but in a very scattered way.  I play with him, in a very scattered way.  So many of the other moms I know with kids his age post things about their kid who says a couple words, who gives kisses, who does this thing and that thing.  They put them in cute clothes and post pictures with the hashtag #mywholeworld.  It is not a competition, and I have confidence that my guy will be just fine, developmentally.  But I hope I have not been too emotionally distant this past year.  I feel tired a lot of the time.  I haven’t had much time to myself this past year — a few hours at a time.  You don’t get more than that when you are the milk supply.  I know things will be different soon, and I am really looking forward to that, but I am sad, too.  I really do have a precious little person.

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4 Responses to Mid-May

  1. Ariadne says:

    It sounds like you have a lot going on! I’m impressed that you manage to still have a garden. I’ve been preoccupied by similar stresses, including job uncertainty and my partner’s transition, and the garden was the first thing to go… Maybe we’ll have one next year.

    Enjoy your 1-year-old! In my experience, toddlers are just the best – so enthusiastic and loving and full of the joy of discovery! It is my favorite age. 🙂

    • pikaperdu says:

      I’m sharing my garden this year with a friend, which I think was a smart choice on my part. It’s a little less work for me, and I have somebody to get excited with when the lettuce looks particularly happy.
      I am looking forward to the toddler stage for little guy. Thanks for the encouragement and best wishes to you guys as well!

  2. Congrats on handing in a draft!
    I’m also glad to hear your sister’s outlook is good and that J seems to be enjoying her new job. I hope it gives you both some valuable breathing space.
    As for everything else, you’ll get there and babbies and motherhood aren’t a competition.
    *hugs* for Zig, worries and crappy families. xx

    • pikaperdu says:

      Thanks NessieMonster. Especially about the thesis! Seriously, it is a wonderful thing. I know I’m not done yet but suddenly I don’t feel like it is such an impossible task. It’s almost as if I didn’t really believe there was such a thing as life beyond the master’s program, and I have suddenly realized that there is such a thing… Life may be complicated but this alone makes up for a lot. You understand, I’m sure. 🙂

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