Monday, August 20, 2012

The Working Dilemma, Part II

I haven’t blogged since I started my new job, mainly because, to be honest, I was too.freaking.tired.  Some of it is just adapting (6 weeks of getting up at 8am and napping whenever I wanted seriously spoiled me), adjusting to the 45-minute traffic-laden commute, and learning to squeeze in errands and chores on the weekends or evenings. But some of it, honestly, is just because I’m not a superworman. Anne-Marie Slaughter’s article in the Atlantic Monthly was incredibly timely  because I am just now realizing that I was lied to.
My whole life, I’ve essentially been told, “OF COURSE women can be doctors/lawyers etc.”. But now, I’m looking at some of the incoming 1Ls at the law school where I work, and thinking, “These women will be close to 30 when they graduate, with 30 years of debt to pay off, and a punishing few years, at least, as an associate in a law firm. How could they possibly have kids?”. Even though I don’t (thank God) have any grad school debt (although I suppose I’m now shouldering my husband’s) and don’t find working in higher ed a more-than-average time commitment (except during orientation and exam weeks), I’m STILL struggling. I know, at 27, I should seriously be considering children. But I can’t imagine trying to do everything I do now AND have a baby, not to mention worrying about daycare and providing for everything on a (thus far) single salary. Plus cook dinner every night and do the majority of the housework.
Why were we told we could have it all? Was it on the assumption that we would hire  housekeepers/nannies? Because honestly, the thought of someone else raising my children makes me break out into a cold sweat. At the same time, though, I don’t want to give up the career I’ve fought so hard to have. What’s the answer? Not have kids? Every time I think “I can’t have kids! No way can I handle them on top of everything else!” I see a baby and feel that deep-seated yearning to have one of my own.
And yet, some nights I don’t get home until 7:30 if I manage to go to the gym, which is just the time of an ideal bedtime for a young child.
About a year ago, I told an acquaintance that I was willing to give up my career for children. Even if that were true, and I’m not convinced yet it is, it’s not a possibility right now as I am the only one working. There is literally no way for me to make the choice to be a stay-at-home mom, no matter how much I might discover I want to.
Ultimately, it’s the struggle between society (get a job, work hard, make money) and biology (have children, spend your life raising them). Is there really a way to balance them that doesn’t require hiring outside help? For us, not in this recession, at least not for now.
My only answer as of today? Start drinking coffee. It’s incredibly sad that this is all I can think of to do, but there it is. I have to manage an 8-hour work day, hour and a half of commuting, occasional gym sessions, cooking dinner, and housework somehow. Caffeine, you’re my new best friend.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

My "411"

I'm copying this from my friend Justine and her blog (I think it is actually from another blog but...I am lazy...)

. How long have you been blogging? And what got you started on blogging? Has your blog changed?

I started blogging the summer after my college graduation, as my friends were moving away to their new lives and I was staying behind to continue with grad school. I wanted people to have a way to keep up with me, and...well, I was bored and wasn't used to not having roommates to talk to. I would say my blog has become less personal in ways; when I was job searching this spring I did some googling on myself and found some links to blog posts that I didn't feel represented me well. So, I've tried to be less personal, or maybe I should say reactionary.

2. Did you go to college? If so where, and what did you study?

Yes; UNC, and I studied English lit. Mainly because I love reading and talking about reading. (which I still do).

3. Where have you traveled?

England, Canada, France, and the US (it's my goal before I die to make it to all 50 states--so far 11 down!)

4. If you won the lottery, what would be the first thing you 
would buy?

Furniture/decorations for the house. And then pay off Brian's loan.

5. What are your 3 biggest pet peeves?

1.) Being late/people who are late.

2.) People who scream at their children in public (or ever).

3.) Reality TV. In specific, the recent rash of TV shows that present all Southerners as uneducated, racist rednecks.

6. What is your favorite movie?

Probably The Holiday (the Kate Winslett version, not the Katharine Hepburn version). Also Julie & Julia.
7. What is your drink of choice; wine, beer, or liquor. Or Water, Soda, Tea?

Alcohol: Moscato (white wine)
Non-alcoholic: Water or hot tea (English Breakfast, Darjeeling, Assam, or Peppermint)

8. What is something you enjoy to do when you have me time?
Read or  watch girly tv shows that Brian doesn't like

9. If you could have a $10,000 shopping spree to one store, which store would it be?

Does Amazon count?

Otherwise I'm very tempted to say Barnes & Noble. But I'll be more temperate and say Target.

10. Share with us an embarrassing moment of your past? Or present.

Oh, so many. I am a klutz so that makes things interesting. But, today at lunch (for my first day of work my coworkers took me to the Tobacco District) I ordered a grilled chicken sandwich which had shredded lettuce on the top of the bun. So I flip the top half of the bun onto the sandwich and lettuces goes EVERYWHERE. Me, my new coworker, the floor. Yeah.

11. What day would you love to relive again?

 I'm honestly not sure. It would NOT be my wedding day, since I was incredibly stressed out about all the family tensions going on at the time (and perpetually). One of the days our our honeymoon would be nice--although I would prefer, instead of reliving it, just be able to recreate it, as Brian and I are so much more comfortable/cohesive/cooperative with one another now then we were then.

12. If your life was turned into a movie... what actor would play you?

Mae Whitman. I think she kind of looks like me, plus I like that's she's quirky, doesn't show up in Hollywood news, and can definitely play up the angst (useful for my high school/college years).

13. What are the jobs you had in high school/college/the early years?

Too many to list. In high school I taught kindergarten dance classes; in college I worked in a group home and doing direct care for teenagers with disabilities; in grad school I did more direct care, for Jewish Family Services, and for the state; then I worked in career counseling in at Ave Maria and now in Student Affairs at Duke Law.

14. Show us a picture from high school or college. haha. Both because I don't want such pictures to be out there, but also because I try not to post "people" pictures on this blog. So, here is a picture of a giant rubber stamp statue that I saw in Cleveland when I went to visit Brian's family senior year. Just, you know...because.

15. If you could travel anywhere in the world, all expenses paid, where would you go?

  Brian and I are really hoping to go to Malta at some point, as his grandmother's family is from there and he really identifies with their culture.

16. Show us the most current picture of you or you, or your family, or anything of meaning to you. 

Beaufort Grocery is where we went for our anniversary dinner this year. I'm proud that we had the courage to get married, given that both our parents are divorced, and I also think we've grown immeasurably in our marriage the past 2+ years.

17. Where do you see your life 5 years from now?

I would love to have bought a house; I hope we have at least one child. Other than that, I hope we both have jobs we like, and enough money to pay the bills, live comfortably, and put some in savings. I would love to still be in NC, but we'll see where God takes us.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Catering escapades

There have been several times in my life when I have been very, very glad that I can cook. This past weekend, as co-hostess of a bridal shower, was one of those times. I made the cake and 4 trays of hors d'oeurves and paid a fraction of what I would have had to pay for a bakery cake/actual caterer. And, I like to think, they were just as good.

Bacon and Swiss mini quiches

Sausage and cheddar balls

Chicken salad cups

Chocolate-covered strawberries

Strawberry cake with almond frosting, to match the invitations

I'm no expert at any of this; other than the cake, which I did a test run of a few weeks ago, I'd never made any of this food before. I'm clearly not a master decorator, either; I'm hoping to be able to take a cake-decorating class at some point. But, I'm pretty proud of them. I know that being able to cook isn't universal, so I like being able to do something that not everyone can. Several people have tried to convince me to open a catering business and/or bakery, and though I have no plans to do that anytime soon, who knows what the future holds if I need a more flexible schedule.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Accepting the Impossible

After 11 job applications and MANY nervous breakdowns over my worries that we may never a.) move back into a place of our own, b.) be able to live in the area we want, and c.) get jobs with decent salaires/benefits, the impossible has happened.

I got a job with a decent salary and benefits. One I'm nearly certain I will enjoy! That starts 2 months after I quit my last job! Plus we signed a lease on an awesome apartment right in the area we wanted to live and move in less than 2 weeks.

In addition to all of THIS, and on a more personal note, my period started. On it's own, without drugs. For the first time in 4 years. This is nearly a miracle, even if it isn't sustained.

I'm having a hard time accepting all of this. It seems too good to be true, really. I mean...a job I like? One that offered me the position 5 hours after meeting me and raved about how much they were impressed by me? (What person did THEY meet??) One that lets us live 5 minutes (walking) from the Byzantine Catholic parish Brian loves, not to mention every store we might want to frequent? That's 30 minutes from one of my best friends and 2.5 hours from the other AND is oft visited by Brian's best friend?

I seriously expect to wake up tomorrow and realize none of this has actually occurred. Not even in my wildest dreams did I expect things to work out this quickly and this ideally.

So, for those of you reading this that offered up a prayer or a thought for us, thank you. For those of you that might be reading this by chance, this isn't how things usually work out for me (see previous posts).  Hopefully a change is in the air!

More to come as we transition back to our independent lives.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

We're back, baby!

Beaufort Waterfront

I've been meaning to write a post on how glad I am to be back in NC for a while, and I think the car accident I was involved in today (I wasn't driving, and I'm fine) manages to roll all those reasons into one:

Immediately after, while we were both sitting in the intersection blinking:

  • A Marine jumped out of one car and ran to the other car involved in the wreck (it was upside down)
  • One lady came up, made sure we were both ok, and escorted us to the side of the road
  • Two more ladies ran up to tell us they were praying and it was going to be ok
  • All the cops/firemen/EMS techs involved were courteous and came up multiple times to make sure we were ok
Also, last week while I was standing in the middle of the aisle in a bookstore, three teenage girls wanted to get past me AND ALL THREE OF THEM SAID 'Excuse me".

That would never have happened in Florida, no matter what age they were. I am so glad to be back in the South!! I know NC has its problems...but man. Feels like home!

Job count:
Applications: 11
Rejections: 4
Phone interviews:1
In-person interviews: 1 (next week!!)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Goodbye Florida

On the eve of our departure from Florida, I've just been reflecting on what I'll miss about Florida (and what I WON'T).

I'll miss:
  • The grad students. We really had a phenomenal community of friends here, and I hope we'll be able to keep up with them for years to come.
  • The winters. Sometimes I miss seasons, but the weather really is spectacular during the winter. 
  • Being able to only have one wardrobe (summer).
  • Disney World. We didn't actually make it to Disney World...but just knowing it was there...
  • The Silverspot...leather armchairs while watching a movie=bliss.
I WON'T miss:
  • Tourist season, which unfortunately coincides directly with the only time the weather is nice.
  • The tourist culture--mostly meaning that there IS no culture, and what there is, is only available during tourist season and then shuts down.
  • The weather outside of the winter (late March-November), which is scorching hot with burning sunlight that gives you skin cancer and damages your eyesight. I am not exaggerating. 
  • The lack of affordable recreation opportunities, including dining options.
  • Being an hour from the bank/Target/aforementioned limited dining options.
So, it's back to North Carolina...home for now but hopefully on to our own place soon.

Job application count: 8
Rejections: 1
Interviews: 0.

Sunday, May 13, 2012


  • I had never changed a diaper until this past week, when my niece came to visit. (It's not that hard. What a relief).
  • I love cookie dough. Seriously love it. Love it like it should be its own food group.  
  •   As much as I've whined and complained about living in Florida, I will miss the house we've been living in. And our neighbors. But not Florida. 
  • I am getting stressed about finding a new job...I love our family, but I don't think I can live with them long-term. I need a space of my own. Plus, not working kind of drives me nuts. (I know...commit me to the insane asylum now).
  •  I don't know what kind of work I want to do. "Something I enjoy". But what on earth is that?? Help.
  • I love Brian being at home. I love spending time with him. But I am already really tired of Star Trek.

That's it for now...further post on Florida to come. Less than 2 weeks to go in the Sunshine State!