Saturday, October 31, 2009

Friday, October 30, 2009

In Limbo

This will be long.

This week our household got some very exciting but potentially very nerve-wracking news. We found that that D is going to graduate this year, and he has immediately started working on applications to post-doctoral positions.

Those of you with experience in this know that the post-doctoral application process is intense; after one day D has identified over 30 positions he will apply for all over this country and several others. Applications are due between now and December and we probably won't know anything until at least March, if we are lucky.

This would be scary enough if it were only one of us who would be starting a new career or if we didn't so much care where we moved. But, get this: I am also graduating this year, and we have very, very strong preferences of where we live. And my degree is one that can be used almost anywhere, whereas D's is a very specific subset of a very specific field that can really only fit into a University with very similar research interests. So if we moved to the town where we both want to live I could find a suitable job fairly easily, but if D can't get a post-doc near there (which is basically not an option) than he would need to take a private sector job. He has always said this that he isn't too sure he wants to be a professor, so giving up a post-doc for a private sector job isn't terrible...but I can't help but think that when you've gone this far to get a PhD you should keep going.

To provide a little more context to this, let me go back in time a little. D and I started dating during the last semester of our undergraduate careers; a few months into our relationship I discovered that I had been offered a scholarship to live and study in West Africa for almost a year. D was slated to start grad school in the U.S. We lived apart, had a open but committed relationship while I was gone (a story for another day) and I moved back to join him when my time in West Africa was over. We have been here ever since.

The decision join him was one I made fairly easily because a) I wanted to be with him, b) he had a life-plan, and I didn't, so it made since to follow his plan for a while and c) there was much more opportunity to work in my field where he was living than in my hometown, which was where I had originally wanted to go after graduation/Africa. But the ease of the decision does not mean that in my worst moments I didn't heap all kinds of guilt upon him about it. The truth is that I would never have moved back to this town if it weren't for him, and sometimes this gets to me. But the other truth is that I really love the town I live in, I have really good friends here, and I have had good work and educational opportunities the whole time.

So we are entering this new phase with the knowledge of our past, and obviously the potential for fights, heartbreak, disappointment and sadness are huge here, and honestly I think we are both trying to hide how scared we are. Neither one of us wants to be so petty as to say "Well, we followed D's dream for a while, so now he has to sacrifice his so that MWK can live where she wants" or so gender and academia-normative to say "Well, a post-doc is the most important thing, we will move wherever D gets one and MWK can just wait a few more years to pursue her own career until D gets on his feet." Both of those options are basically shitty.

Why? Well I am scared that if we move to where I get a job, possibly meaning that D takes a private sector job instead of a post-doc, that he will grow resentful and unhappy. On the other hand, if he gets a post-doc in a tiny town in Canada I don't know that I can move there with him and not grow resentful and unhappy. [Note: I have nothing against tiny towns in Canada, except that they are far away from my family and friends and would make it hard for me to get a job I liked]. And the option of living apart is not one we are willing to take; yes we both have our separate dreams, but we have a damn lot of dreams that involve the other person as well.

There are couple pie-in-the sky options, like D's dream job, that would combine the place we want to live with great opportunities for both of us, and I have to try very hard not to emotionally think of those as realities. Up until now I have been really successful at figuring out what I want and working like a dog to make that happen, so it is hard for me not to believe that simply wanting something so bad won't make it happen. But seeing how much I want something only makes D feel more stressed to "make it happen" and I don't want to put unfair pressure on him that may cause him to give up something he truly wants in an effort to make me happy. I am pretty sure he feels the same way, (he worries out loud all the time about making me follow his dreams again when we have been doing that for years) but he has been keeping his feelings about this a little closer to his vest these days.

So we are coming upon a big, scary crossroads here in the first year of our marriage, and we are both very nervous. We have always said that we will both apply for jobs all over the place and than the person who gets the best job will "win." But we haven't really figured out how to decide what the "best" job is, and neither one of us would feel comfortable "winning" at the expense of the other.

I am trying hard to think of all this as exciting: a new town, a new apartment (or, inchallah, a house, even if we are renting) actual salaries for both of us. And all of those things will be exciting. And I know we love each other, and that ultimately we will make a decision that works for both of us. And that, if we are thoughtful and loving and respectful, at least most of the time, then we can come out as a stronger team in the end. But I am still nervous, and probably will be until...actually I am not even sure when I would stop being nervous about this.

My mom gave me the advice to "Remember the vine maple: use anything that happens as an opportunity for further growth." And this is what I will try to do.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Dear The Nest Magazine:

What the F, how did you find me?

I mean, I know how you found me - I never should have signed up for your stupid Knot website and your hive-inducing to-do lists.

But WHY ARE YOU IN MY HOUSE? I didn't ask you to come here. In my 16 months of being engaged I never once bought a wedding magazine and I damn sure don't want a magazine that tells me how to act like a married person. The idea of "dating another couple" makes me want to stab myself in the eyeballs* and I don't need you to make me feel depressed about my white-walled and beige-carpeted apartment because it is all I can afford. I don't live in a damn bungalow and my only dinner dilemmas are a) what is D making and how soon will be be done or b) should I make my quesadilla in the microwave or on the stove.

So: get. out. I do not want you here! So far I have been able to avoid looking past your cover, but I fear that if you stay any longer I may acquiesce.

* More on this later.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

If the Hubs and I co-wrote a blog

It would go like this:


D$'s Post: Check out this sweet dead-TaunTaun-as-sleeping-bag wedding cake:

**BigDogSmallBaby from PeoniesandPolariods (who got it from A Dirty Blonde)

**Dead TaunTaun Wedding Cake from Gizmodo, which is I site I didn't know existed until today. Yea. The hubs and I use the internet for different things...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

WWII Veteran Speaks about Marriage Equality

I found this via boingboing and it made me cry.

Excerpt: "The woman at my polling place asked me "Do you believe in equality for gay and lesbian people?" I was pretty surprised to be asked a question like that. It made no sense to me. Finally I asked her: what do you think I fought for in Omaha Beach?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

"A Practical Wedding" on Wife-dom

Meg has written an absolutely wonderful and eloquent post on wife-dom and the reclaiming (or self-defining) there-of.

Go read it. Right this very minute.

My only complaint is that she wrote it today when I have too much homework/work/birthday celebrating to do to really be able to sit down and reply adequately.

Birthday Snacks

You know that terrible song about "Birthday Sex?" Well my friends and I discovered that it is a way better song if you just sing about Birthday Snacks instead. Try it out "Birthday snacks, Birthday snacks..." Way. Better.

And yes, it is my birthday! I woke up to an ice cream cake (yess!), tickets to a basketball game when my team comes to town, and DVDs of Ghostsbusters 1 and 2.*

Pretty f'ing excellent.

But the best part was the message on the cake:

[my name] = 3 cubed + Awesome cubed

It actually had the little higher-up 3s to designate cubes, but I can't figure out how to do that in blogger and am too lazy to keep trying.

Ah, love through numbers...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Read this: American Wife

Curtis Sittenfeld's first book, Prep, threw my high school insecurities at me in such poignant, right-on language that I wanted to simultaneously jump for joy and jump out of the nearest window.

A good friend gave me her third book, American Wife, as a wedding present and it sucked me in so much that I had to tear myself away from it ON MY HONEYMOON. (Yes, I was reading a book with that cover on my honeymoon. Yes, I felt silly).

A highly fictionalized account of former First Lady Laura Bush's life, the book starts with her childhood and ends during the first term of her husband's presidency. The writing is impeccable and the story is fascinating; a peek into what it might be like to fall in love with and marry someone whose political views and family background are widely divergent from yours and then have that person unexpectedly gain the power to exert these views on an entire nation while you are expected to sit by as as the "wife." I wouldn't say that the book is about marriage, or even about American marriage, but it is a really well done and creative story that explores (fictionally!) a really famous woman's life before and after a marriage that grew to define her existence.

I gotta tell you, I had never thought much about Laura Bush before reading this book, but if I did think about her I am sure my thinking ran along the lines of "How could you be married to him?"* Which of course is totally unfair and demeaning and not about Laura Bush at all. What is great about this book is it isn't just "Here is a story of what it might be like to be married to a famous President." This book is about Alice Lindgren, a woman from the Midwest who is smart and independent, who loves to read and is interesting for a myriad of reasons that have nothing to do with who she chose to marry. It is also about how who she loves and marries has impacts on her life, but the person of Alice Lindgren never gets lost, and it is her that I kept wanting to hear more about.

Seriously. So good. I'm talking getting-past-grossness-of fake GWB-sex-scenes good. I think I liked the first part of the book before she meets fake-GWB better, but the whole thing is a very satisfying page-turner of a read.

Go read it! You can thank me later.

*Last year a friend of mine told me that when GWB met Laura and asked her what she did, she responded: "I smoke, and I read." So. Rad.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Conversations at our house, Take 2

Okay, so this wasn't actually a conversation that took place at our house (someone please shoot me if D and I start g-chatting while we are in the same room). This is a g-chat from work last week:

: It's perfectly reasonable to bomb the moon is what I"m telling you
3:49 PM
3:50 PM
MWK: so "lunar impacts" = bombing the moon?
D$: Well, let's see.
3:51 PM It is currently travelling at 2668 mph
and is 57,000 km out
3:56 PM D$: assuming it's now just falling toward the moon, it should end up going about 4,000 mph
MWK: what does this have to do with whether or not it constitutes bombing?
3:57 PM D$: well, hang on
I have to find out how much it weighs
ahh, 5000 lbs
3:58 PM OK
3:59 PM so, it turns out to be almost exactly the same energy as a TON of TNT

MWK: in other news: the Christina Aguilera channel on Pandora is totally awesome.

Made for Walkin'

The weekend with the parents was really nice- sometimes it is nice to be a daughter, you know? Both my dad and step-mom stayed in our apartment with us and it actually turned out really great. This was our first time hosting anyone as a married couple, and the definite first time having one of our parents stay with us, and I was nervous. Nervous that our place is too small, mostly, since it is a glorified studio with bedroom walls. We did have to re-do D and I's makeshift couch-bed in the living room each morning in order to have a place to sit, but it was actually fine. D made us breakfast every day and the four of us got to spend a lot of time drinking coffee in our PJs that wouldn't have happened if my parents had stayed in a hotel. And, my step-mom spontaneously said the apartment was "really homey," which is basically all I have ever wanted anyone to think.

But the real news is: I got the best early birthday present EVER. I have been drooling over Frye boots for a while now and inventing ways in which I could afford them (I don't need to pay grad school fees, right?) but I sort of thought that I would never actually get them. But, as it turns out my dad did take me shopping, in a huge way.

And just look at'em: HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME

Frye's Carson Pull-On Boot

Maybe now I'll remember how old I am.

I'll spare you the tale of my guilt over the price tag because my Dad really did seem keen to get me something nice for my birthday and kept saying that he was saving money by staying at our house. Let's just say that my guilt is totally overwhelmed by my glee at getting to wear these bad boys around town. I was so excited that I bought two different kinds of leather protector, did internet research to find out which one to use, and have decided to use them both.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Taking a short break

My Dad and Step-mom are coming into town this weekend (actually my Dad is already here. He spent the night last night and is working from our apartment today) so I won't be posting until at least Monday. I will be too busy eating at restaurants I normally can't afford and trying not to feel silly about the fact that I am 26 years old and still want my parents to take me shopping.

So to the approximately four of you reading: don't go! I'll be back!

On another topic: last night was the first night that my dad met the kitties, and he looooves them.

Also: when I first wrote this post I wrote my age wrong and didn't realize it for a full ten minutes.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Strong Women and Marriage

On our wedding day my mother's two best friends both came up to me separately and told me how much they loved our ceremony. These women loom large in my upbringing and their opinions meant a lot to me. They both mentioned one reading in particular and I was incredibly touched and happy that the reading struck a chord with them. The reading itself also comes from a pretty awesome place; the woman who wrote it, Madeleine L'Engle, wrote some of my favorite children's books and I think she was a wonderful role model for strong women everywhere. I've been thinking about it a lot so I thought I'd reproduce it here. Apologies: it is long.

I'm asked with increasing frequency, "But why marry?", a question to be taken seriously. The desire to make sure that there is integrity in love, that neither partner wants to use or manipulate the other, is a healthy one. But ultimately there comes a moment when a decision must be made. Ultimately two people who love each other much ask themselves how much they love for as their love grows and deepens, and how much risk they are willing to take.

If we commit ourselves to one person for life this is not, as many people think, a rejection of freedom; rather it demands the courage to move into all the risks of freedom, and the risk of love which is permanent; into that love which is not possession but participation.

When love is not possession, but participation, then it is part of that co-creation which is our human calling. Because it is the nature of love to create, a marriage itself is something which has to be created, so that, together, we become a new creature.

[Someone once said]...that marriage is a question not of creating a quick community of spirit by tearing down and destroying all boundaries, but rather a good marriage is that in which each appoints the other the guardian of his solidtude. My love for my husband and his for me is in that unknown, underwater area of ourselves where our separations become something new and strange, merge and penetrate like drops of water in the sea. But we do not lose our solitudes, or our particularity, and we become more than we could alone.

Madeliene L'Engle, The Irrational Season*

*Full Disclosure: I pieced this together from a longer chapter.
**Full Full Disclosure; I first read this quote, in a slightly different format, on the "Vows" forum on IndieBride. Check it out!
***Geek Out - Can't you just see Charles Wallace reading this at Meg(aparsec) and Calvin's wedding? No? That's just me?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Dear Universe,

You know that dream job? The one that D$ told me he wanted years ago and is actually open now exactly at the right time for him to apply for it? The dream job that also happens to be in the city where we both want to move?

If you could arrange for him to get that job, I'd really appreciate it. Like, a lot.



Thursday, October 1, 2009

Conversations at our house, Take 1

Me: Is Stephen Colbert married?

D$: I think so.

Me: Can you imagine being his wife?

D$ (immediately): I would marry him in a second. AND dress up like a woman every day.

Lessons from the Sea?

We got a belated wedding present in the mail today, from D's aunt, who I have never met. It was this book:
Secrets of a Very Good Marriage: Lessons from the Sea

I haven't read it yet (hello, it arrived today!) but I will let you know how it is. It doesn't really look like my kind of book, but along with the book came a card, and along with the card came this note:

I hope your marriage is a happy one. And I hope that through it, because of the support of it or maybe because of the pressure of it, you are able to take risks, grow, and find something true.

Ex.fucking.actly. I got teary.