Random thoughts (of varying length)


Do you think my cat understood when she meowed at me and I told her “I’m sorry, Fluffy, but we only have enough wet food for one can a day and I gave you your can this morning”?

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When I’m feeling alone about my work-life balance concerns, in particular my strong strong STRONG desire to become a mom and how I might manage to still become a scientist, I find my blogosphere friends to be so comforting. In particular, I love to read the archives of PhD Mom, because she had her first children in grad school and her husband, like mine, is in computers, and I like to read about how that worked out for her. Thanks PhD mom, for having written so many great and honest posts that help me feel less alone!

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My husband rocks. I had already talked to him earlier about how I was feeling down, but now I talked to him again for a bit more, and he’s just so supportive, I couldn’t ask for anything more. We talked about the different options I have (I’ll be getting my master’s in January), and basically about how it’s up to me what I want to do. If I want to drop out of school, get some other sort of job for a while, and work on having the baby as soon as we are healthy enough, fine. If I want to stick it out until I get my PhD, that’s fine too. If I want to try and have a baby before finishing the PhD but stay in the program, fine, but I just need to make sure that I’m not putting more on my plate than I can realistically handle and setting myself up for a major meltdown. If I want to stay at home with the baby after I graduate and take time off from the work force, we’ll work it out. If I want to find a part-time job, we’ll work that out. And if I want to stay in academia full-time and continue to pursue a professorship, he’ll be there for me as well, my teammate and coach and best supporter. But it’s up to me, and I need to do what makes me happy, and that’s what he thinks too. And it’s so great, to know that I have this wonderful partner who will do whatever he can to help me achieve my dreams and my happiness, while I do the same for him. I love you, Husband.

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On this week of last year, I had just gotten over the scariest incident of my life as of yet – that in which my fiance didn’t return home from his bachelor party. It was 9 or 10 am on Saturday, and finally I gave in to my inner desire to stay calm and hope he’d call me back, and decided to call his friend. “Friend, is Husband crashed there with you?” “Flicka, is this a joke?” “No, Friend, he’s not home yet” “Oh god. I put him on the subway to go home 4 hours ago. Oh my god, flicka, where is he?” …silence, as I begin dry-wretching.

A long, long 45-60ish minutes later,

  • after a visit from some cops who think I’m some dumb wifey whose husband-to-be got cold feet,
  • and after our male friend took them in the hallway to explain that yes, even he who had been at the bachelor party with the husband-to-be is worried about him and that he wouldn’t have just run away,
  • and after those same cops, incidentally, while they were here, found some smoked…ahem, illegal substances… and then hid it in the corner for me, telling me I shouldn’t leave that stuff out when I invite cops over, (Yes, Officer, I’m so very sorry, Officer, I was just so stressed out about my fiance who disappeared, very drunk and alone, in New York City during the night that I didn’t think to hide that, I’m so sorry, Officer),
  • and after yet another winning moment wherein we think we’ve found him at a hospital but it turns out it’s his father (who shares his name) who’s in their records,

finally, finally, my husband-to-be arrived home. With a bag. In which was a toasted bagel. Yes, toasted. Because it hadn’t occured to him that me and his friends were all freaking out, and he thought, mmmm, yes, please do take the time to TOAST that bagel for me. As it turns out, and as we had suspected after many hysterical moments, he had fallen asleep on the subway. On the wrong subway, as he was too drunk to notice that the express was running local. And he had been robbed, of his cell phone and whatever money he had (he got the bagel with a few quarters from his back pocket), so he couldn’t call when he woke up, 3 hours after boarding the train, about an hour and a half from our home and on the wrong subway line.

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Also, at this time in general of last year, I was in twice as many classes as now, but doing less research, studying for midterms, managing to turn in homework sets, and putting the finishing touches on a very do-it-yourself wedding. Our anniversary is coming up this Sunday. Imagine, a whole. year. of marriage. Wow.

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One thought on “Random thoughts (of varying length)

  1. You’re not alone, but it is hard finding colleagues with kids. I had AJ in grad school, although technically I was working full time and went back to school after I had him. It’s a long story that I’ve told in my blog before. I can direct you to the posts if you’re interested. Also, I have a lot of grad student parent blogs in my favorites list posted on my blog (look for the academic category) if you’re looking for more. Most of the academic women I know who had kids either in grad school or afterwards think it’s easier to do it in grad school. Small babies sleep a lot and you will be stuck at home. If the research is done, there’s writing time to be had, as long as your brain hasn’t turned to a total hormonal mush. Kids and tenure are harder, they say. The most difficult thing for me has been the unspoken penalties. LIke the fact that I can’t hang out in the office and meet with people easily, can’t go to evening performances a lot of the time, can’t volunteer for all those extra things that can beef up your resume and improve your departmental profile. I have a very supportive committee, however, who think kids are important. And my university (also a top tier research institution) has recently founded a center for student families, offering lots of resources for grad student parents, including a place to meet with other grad student parents, coop babysitting, playrooms and playgroups and classes for preschoolers. The climate seems to be changing, albeit slowly.

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