Thursday, April 25, 2013
Anyway. This week was truly sucky, professionally, for me. It just. Sucked. Big time. I'm trying to think of how to describe it without identifying myself to the random Googler who might happen across this blog. But I don't think I should worry about that too much. Anyway!
So here's what happened. I was nominated by my department for a very prestigious fellowship in my field. As in, 12 people generally are awarded the fellowship annually. And they have only had it for a few years and there is no guarantee of how long it will continue. So I was nominated - which I *should* view as an honor in and of itself. The complicating factor was, of course, that I was going to have to propose a study that they would fund as part of the fellowship. And I was less than 3 weeks out from emergency surgeries that I had to have on my arm last fall (more about that in another post...it's been a long year...).
So I wasn't at my best, mentally, as I was still on pain meds and doing IV antibiotics (I told you it was a long story) and dealing with the after effects of two unplanned / emergency surgeries on a body that was previously healthy and...yeah. But I was up for the challenge - I wanted to apply for this, since they were willing to go out on a limb and nominate me. I wanted to move forward with one of my areas of research interest - and get the next study rolling, since I'm kind of tired of pilot studies. And, to be honest, I wanted the honor and prestige and recognition that comes from being awarded a fellowship of this stature in my scholarly world. To most people, it would not mean much, but...for me, the impact on my CV, my future scholarly career, and future job opportunities was amazing. Getting something like this would really propel my career into the upper levels of the people who do what I do. And that would be, quite simply, awesome.
I have to admit, I went into this thinking that it would be a lot easier than it actually was. I worked nearly full time on the application from the end of the fall semester (mid-December) through the due date in mid-February. I put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into it. I worked on it over winter break - at my parents' house - at my in laws' house - at home. I worked on it so much that it started to become almost an obsession. And I was - I thought - typically conscientious of the other elements of the application (the part I was focusing on was the research study plan). I had good mentors and great mentorship plans. I had ideas of where I was going to go in the future with this. I had ideas about how to integrate findings from multiple studies - mine and those done by others - and make a difference in the lives of people in particular circumstances, with particular health problems.
At the same time, I was going through my mid-tenure review. In year 3 of our appointments, we are reviewed by our peers in the department, to determine whether we are on the right track for receiving tenure after year 5. The idea, of course, is to get rid of dead weight / course correct for people who are having difficulty / and encourage and facilitate the continued growth of people who are pretty much on track. All indications from the review were that I was completely on track. I just needed to focus on publishing more and making sure that I was publishing in my areas of interest (I have 2 lines of research and many, many fewer publications in one than the other).
So despite the health issues - the mental and physical energy I was expending on this - the time away from my immediate and extended family - I was feeling really positive about this application. We made sure that it hit the highlights of what the committee *said* it was looking for. We endeavored to show that it was relevant to the purposes of the body granting the fellowship. We made sure that we had a good mentor ship plan, that the study itself was groundbreaking and not something I could do otherwise.
I was feeling good right up until 2 days before submission, when I had my usual last minute "hey, did we hit everything they said we needed to say in this application????" And on review - both mine and that of my mentor - we thought we had. I submitted it feeling really really positive.
And then it was rejected. Completely. The first stage of selection for this fellowship is being chosen for "interview day". So you put in the written application online - they take a few months to review and score the applications - and then they offer interviews to half of the applicants. Those people interview a few months later, and a month after that, they decide who in that group will receive the fellowship. The number of people interviewed and the percentage of those interviewed who will be offered a fellowship varies year to year, depending on the number of applications received. If they receive 50 applications - interview 25 - and accept 12 - it's pretty straightforward. But in the current funding climate, they are apparently receiving more applications. So it might be something more like 75-80 applications received - half interviewed - and still accepting only 12 people due to funding constraints.
I didn't even make it to the interview stage. My application was apparently so not what they were looking for, that I didn't even make the top half of people who applied. I am completely, totally mortified. Thrown. Unsure of what to do / where to go from here.
I *assumed* (obviously, I was wrong) that I would at least be offered an interview. That would allow me, of course, to address any questions / concerns /issues that the committee might have in person, and in my own voice, and with the power of my passion for this topic behind me (which doesn't always come across in scholarly writing...). Instead...no. I was rejected right off the bat. And, even worse, I don't know WHY. They do not provide individual feedback, even though these fellowships are aimed at people who are early in their careers and developing as scholars / writers / researchers. Really, would it kill them to identify the main 1-2 reasons for the rejection of the application? Otherwise, I have no idea if it's me, the application / study itself, a mismatch in focus area, or something else entirely that has led to my rejection. I can't change that - although I wish I could - so I can just speculate about what happened.
1. The application sucked. Really bad. So much so that it was in the bottom 50% because my scholarship is not up to par. The study was not well-described / conceptualized, the impact of the study was unclear, the methods weren't clearly outlined - whatever it was, it was something study-related. This is both more palatable and more daunting than some of the other possibilities I've come up with - palatable because it should be fixable, but more daunting because...it might mean that the area in which I hope to do research in the future is not a GOOD one - for science, or funding opportunities, or really anything. Fixable vs. not fixable. Which do I hope for? And I'll never know if this was the reason, either!
It does make me think, of course, what I do with this study idea going forward. I want to pursue it - I was planning already to submit for another grant on the same topic in the (unlikely, ha) event that this one did not fund. But I didn't realize that I would then be putting all my eggs in THAT basket. It makes me think that I need to diversify how I am applying for funding, in some ways -have more ideas about where to go / who might fund this research / who else I should talk to / how I should conceptualize what I am doing.
But at the same time - although it wasn't an EASY study (maybe that is another possibility - that it was simply too ambitious for the time frame / money provided / etc? although that is rather optimistic thinking...) I thought it was relatively straightforward to understand. We know that x, y, and z contribute to a, and usually b, in this particular group of people. But those elements have all been studied separately, and not necessarily in people this age and with these health issues. So I wanted to incorporate these findings from earlier work into ONE study to try to answer the question of what matters, and what matters more in terms of outcomes of these individuals.
2. Mismatch in focus area...Maybe it's that their focus was on a particular type of study done by a particular type of scholar this year. This was an option brought up by 2 of the (few) people I have told about my rejection in a professional context. That maybe, just maybe, my research interests are in the "close but we're not really interested in it" category. This is plausible - because the foundation funding these fellowships definitely does have a particular agenda, and they do tend to have a particular focus for the studies that they DO fund. But...I thought I made the case about the fit between my proposed research and the funding foundation pretty well.
This is the explanation that my emotional brain wants to hold on to. In reality? It's likely that the study was poorly conceived, conceptualized, and explained. I probably did not do a very good job outlining what I wanted to do, and why, with this particular population. That is, hopefully, fixable, but it calls into question my thinking, writing, and communication skills. WHY am I not able to clearly conceive of my overall interests? How can I better communicate that to others who are not necessarily in my specialty / interest area? How can I bring all of the disparate factors of interest to me together, in a way that makes sense to someone other than me?
And then, once I figure out how to share / communicate what I am interested in - how on earth do I make the argument that a foundation /body / institute / whatever should fund ME instead of someone else? How do I get over my impression that my writing is so much better than others', and that I'm able to make a better argument for the importance of the study now and in the future?
3. My qualifications / mentorship team / plan for my career
Maybe there was something unclear in the mentorship plan? Or what I want to do with this study once it is finished? I can't imagine that I was perceived as OVERqualified for the fellowship, but...I have had a good amount of pilot funding, and maybe they saw that and thought I'd had enough support? I did have a postdoctoral fellowship as well as another current trainee grant, so again - maybe they thought that was enough training? Time to move on and be a big girl as far as grants go?
Maybe it's that I haven't published much in the area, as it's a new investigative area for me and I didn't have my dissertation publications focused on this?
4. Something else...large group of applications? Focus on people who are of minority status of one type or another? (this is a focus of this particular foundation)
Not much else to say about this one - I can't alter how many people applied, or my personal / professional characteristics, so...yeah.
Why has this completely derailed me this week?
1. I'm tired from traveling / didn't get to go home last weekend / etc.
This is certainly contributing to my current mental state (which has significantly improved since dumping this all out on-screen, even though I am certain that no one has or will ever read this...). I do terribly when I cannot go home on the weekends to recharge my batteries. This is related to something ELSE that happened while I was writing this grant, which was that while I was recovering from 2 emergency surgeries, my husband determined that he needed a career change, interviewed for and accepted a job in a town 2.5 hours from our old town / where I work, and we put our house there on the market and moved up here. So now I am commuting weekly to my job down there - an arrangement I actually enjoy - and sharing a condo with a colleague. Yeah. That was another potentially complicating factor that kind of drew my attention away from the whole writing-a-really-important-grant focus. I can't believe that I forgot the timing of that - will outline that in more detail in another post, because...I can't believe we got through that, to be honest. Wow.
Anyway. I need to come HOME on the weekends to recharge. I cannot be away from my home base for long. And I was this past week - I worked last Monday, traveled from Tues-Sun, arrived BACK at my work location on Sunday, jumped into work on Monday morning, and...got the rejection email Monday morning. Yeah. While I was in the middle of reviewing graduate student projects and having to project a professional - not falling apart - image. That was...interesting. And I wasn't doing too well - I didn't tell many people about the outright rejection, but those I did tell are in positions to get the info out to those who need to know. I figure it will trickle down through the department, and that more and more people will learn about it (or forget that I ever applied) over time.
Which kind of brings me to another point...I am so, so afraid that I disappointed / let down my mentor, my boss, and the higher-ups in the University. Because quite frankly - I failed. They put themselves out there - they nominated me - they wrote letters of support and were willing to support not only the nomination but also the buy out time that it would require - and I was completely REJECTED at the opening stage. Didn't even make it past the first cut. What did I do SO BADLY that I wasn't even able to make their nomination of me worthwhile? I mean, that's significant professional capital they are spending on my behalf. And yet - I wasn't worthy of the fellowship - I wasn't even considered in the top 50%. How did I let them down so badly - and what does that mean for my future opportunities???? Both here and elsewhere?????
2. I had gotten good feedback on these ideas at the meeting I attended last week, so I assumed that everyone would have uniformly positive impressions of the study / ideas that I was presenting.
This was bad - I had good spontaneous feedback on these ideas at the meeting I attended last week...so I assumed that everyone would see the study in the same way. Well, if X person thinks it is worth funding, and that it's an interesting idea, etc., then of COURSE the others are going to think so as well. Why wouldn't they??? And that, clearly, was just not correct. Whether it was the scope or focus of the study - it was not nearly good enough for this fellowship application.
Which begs the question ,what do I do with it now?? Do I submit it elsewhere? Change my plans? Change my study direction? without feedback I don't know what to do, whether it's my approach / writing / something fixable, or whether it's the core ideas behind the proposal. If it's the core ideas - then I really need to shift perspectives and do something different. But if the ideas are inherently good and I'm just not managing to communicate what I need to share with people who are making these decisions, well, that is more salvageable.
3. I know so. many. people. with this fellowship. And I considered myself a scholarly peer of theirs - that I was on the same level, essentially, and could hold my own in the group. I really thought that. But now, knowing that they all GOT the fellowships (and so made it to the very final group, obviously), while I couldn't even get into the top 50% of applications, is completely mortifying. Completely. It's particularly galling in the case of one particular colleague...
4. Speaking of that one particular colleague....I know that she has one of these fellowships. I also know that her grants are, quite frankly, terribly written and poorly conceptualized, and that she is not a positive person to work for or with. She's a chronic complainer - everything is always, always, ALWAYS someone else's fault - and she refuses to take ownership of the study and make it work. She's always waiting for someone else to come along and do the leg work and / or make things happen. In between, she sits back and wants other people to do the work while everything just kind of...falls into her lap. She's a terrible "team" leader, too. And I thought - maybe - that she was going to be a colleague / friend of mine. But now I am seriously reconsidering that. Because I don't know how much we have in common, and she treated me like dirt in the process of another grant application that went in recently.
Her interpersonal skills suck. She treated two people I know in another department very poorly during the same grant application. She got information from them - never acknowledged their assistance - and then didn't provide them with info on what she was going to use from their contributions, whether they were going to be on the final grant submission, etc. They didn't hear from her until they were asked - rather tersely - for their CV's for the final submission. One friend was surprised to get the request, as she had asked to be taken off the grant (and really wasn't on it - it was a mistake from the person requestingthe CV). And the reply that she got from this "colleague" of mine was such that I was completely embarrassed / mortified to be associated with her. A terse, rude, and snippy email that had no place in a collegial exchange, particularly at our institution, where one rarely if ever encounters a colleague from another discpline who is anything but accommodating, kind, and helpful. She used language that I gave her. I offered references, if she needed them. She asked me for them less than 48 hours before the grant was due. And then, when I saw her in the hallway and told her that it would be at least the next afternoon before I could get to her request, she got snippy with me and told me to "just give [her] the names, and [she'll] look them up on her own". The lack of kindness and respect to one's colleagues just astounds me.
I don't think I can be friends with her. I certainly - after the experience with her grant application - cannot collaborate with her on a study. But I also can't get my mind over the hurdle that this person - this person who thinks the world revolves around her - who thinks she is the bee's knees - who writes terribly and cannot clearly state the concepts /ideas that drive her work - that SHE GOT ONE OF THESE AND I DID NOT. And that is perhaps the most childish reaction possible that I can have to the news that I didn't even make the goddamn interview stage. I mean, really. They gave HER money, they couldn't even find a reason to interview me? It is completely mortifying and embarrassing to me. Completely.
Even worse? She is not a product of my profession. In other words, she did something else, got a graduate degree in my profession, and then latched on to an area of "underserved" research that is kind of sort of of interest to her, but not her passion. I have been passionate about this type of research - this group of people - and this type of study - for YEARS now. And yet...they give her money. And I didn't even get an interview.
I am supposed to have lunch with her on Tuesday. I already canceled it once, in March, for a presentation that I needed to attend. I want to cancel it again but I have a sneaking suspicion that would go over ... not well. Not well at ALL to be honest. Let's just say that I had a perfectly valid reason for needing / wanting to attend the presentation in March, vs. having lunch with a friend / colleague, and she was pissy with me.
You know what? I'm going to post this ridiculously long diatribe. I have more to say on this, but I have to attend a webinar and then skype with a colleague, and while I might come back to this later today, I have had enough processing for the moment. Just need a normal lunch, some laundry, and a boring presentation on online course software. ;)
Saturday, May 12, 2012
Anyway - I'm over that! I think. :) And I am so, so glad that summer is (almost) here, that my workload is significantly lighter, and that I will have the chance to not only get some of my work done, but also clear out some of the mental clutter remaining after a long and stressful academic year.
I also hope to do something about the excessive physical clutter in our house...but that is a story for another day.
There are so many things I want to blog about, so many things that have popped into my brain over the last 6+ weeks...it will take me a while to work through them, and prioritize them, and get them out onto the screen. I've been doing better with the whole childless thing...but not spectacularly. I've been really pleased with my weight loss / fitness improvement...but still have some issues / triggers. I feel like I'm doing better with my attitude, particularly in my personal life...but still have *days*. So, plenty to talk about, lots to work through, and I'm so glad I have this space to use for that.
One (new) thing that I started just yesterday, that I'll mention briefly, is Happy Rambles. It's a website - you have to register - that sends an email once a day, usually at the end of the day (however you define that; for me, it's 4:30 pm ;>), that asks you to reply to the email with what you are grateful / thankful for or happy about that day. What a wonderful way to highlight the positive that hides in every day, no matter how stressful or annoying. I am hoping it helps me maintain the attitude adjustment that I have been working on for the last 3 weeks or so.
Sunday, March 25, 2012
Next fall, I will be teaching students in the final year of their graduate clinical program. Eeps. Up until now, I have been more involved with the students earlier in the program - first semester, second year, etc. I worry - of course, because I would not be me if I did not worry - that I am too unsure, too far removed from my own clinical practice, too...academic to be an effective teacher at that point in the program. I guess we'll see, won't we?
I had a lovely crapstorm of a day on Friday...I originally had 3 conference calls scheduled (on my "work from home day"...I should rename it my "conference call day"). The first one went fine. The second one - to decide which nominee, of 3, should receive an award from a group that I am involved with, took two and a half hours. I had it on my calendar for 1. It. Was. Brutal. My specialty is relatively small - we all know each other, many of us have worked together, and we know background that we would not know if we did not know these nominees so well. It was one of the most difficult things I have ever had to do in my life. We finally decided that we should give the award to one particular person...meaning that I had to send two rejection emails and one yay, you got it! email. And, one of the rejected nominees is...someone I work with. Yeah. Someone I was supposed to be on a phone call with in a half hour. I couldn't do it. I manufactured a work-related excuse, and rescheduled for this week. Not that she won't put it together, after she gets the rejection email, but...man. That was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do, professionally. I suspect that this is what will keep me out of leadership positions. I just...I have such a difficult time telling people 'no' (well, unless I really don't want to do something), and I have a particularly hard time picking one deserving recipient of whatever out of a group of fabulous people and scholars. *sigh* I know it will be better soon, but I really wish I did not have to go through that. And I wish that she did not have to go through that.
Work-related angst aside, N comes home today - yay! - from a four-day meeting. He was hoping to get home yesterday, but that did not work out. He should be home shortly after lunch time, if all works out. He has a meeting this afternoon - not work-related - and is hoping to mow the lawn. Our warm weather has resulted in a jungle-like backyard. The poor dog doesn't even know where to start when I take him out. ;) Anyway - oh, right. I started this paragraph because I was so happy that N scheduled a massage yesterday, after his meeting sessions were finished. He never, ever, ever attends to his physical health, and it drives me NUTS. He does not exercise. He does not always make good food choices. He eats at his desk. He skips lunch. He...yeah. It can be very frustrating, particularly as I've worked to make changes to the way I eat. I'm not saying he doesn't eat his veggies, or that he refuses to eat what I cook (he is fabulously flexible in that regard...), but he just does not make his health a priority, and he really needs to. I can't wait to hear how he liked it - maybe this will prompt him to take better care of himself on a more regular basis. A girl can hope, right?
Onward. Studying for my test on Weds evening. From 6:45-8:45 PM. I might fall sleep in the middle there. That time is BRUTAL for me!
Friday, March 23, 2012
It's been a crazy semester, to say the least. We were both traveling a lot, I have had a busy semester with classes and studies and time in the lab and trying to balance everything, and there have been a few things that have come up that kind of blindsided me, regarding infertility and friends and...yeah. Oh, and I implemented a "lifestyle change", given that when we were in California in January, I could *barely* button the pants that had fit so well last winter. Oops. I think I kind of got off track with my eating. As in, eating all. the. time.
I went with Wei.ght.Watch.ers for my lifestyle change monitoring, as I'd had success with them before - the first year that N and I were together. Ah, memories. Learning that foods with more fiber had lower point counts. Keeping the point counter in the drawer. Not having a smart phone, but being able to log foods through! the! web! We thought we were super-cool. ;)
Now, there's literally an app for that. I can track everything on all my 'devices'. It's kind of hilarious. But I digress. Let's just say that this change has been more successful than I could have imagined. I basically stopped eating most - if not all - refined grain products. I was eating crackers and cookies and bread ALL the time. Not a good choice - particularly not for me, your friendly neighborhood atypical diabetic. I cut waaay back (the first day counting points was...sobering. Let's just say that I topped my daily total mid-afternoon. That I blew through my activity points by 5 pm - and that was WITH a 6.5 mile run! And that I used up a bunch of my weekly extra points. Thank goodness it was a Saturday and I started over with points on Sunday!). Way, way back. Most of my carbs now are either a) homemade granola (in the morning), or b) fruit. Lots and lots and lots of fruits and veggies. The 0 points thing is appealing -although a bit counterintuitive to someone who is mentally focused on protein-protein-protein - and has resulted in significant weight loss for me. I hit my goal weight in about 5.5 weeks. I was thrilled. And, it's continued to come off. I'm seeing numbers on the scale that I haven't seen since my freshman year of college.
The best part? I am not starving all the time. I do think about what I am going to eat, and when, but it's not consuming (ha) my life the way it was. And my clothing fits - or is too big. I feel 100 times better - have a TON more energy - and am able to work out harder and longer than I was before. Now it's time to start thinking about maintenance, and how to add some treats back in without ballooning back up.
The other thing I have noticed - odd, but not completely out of the realm of possibility, from what I've read - is that my face, which was horribly broken out for much of the last 8 months, is nearly clear. I've stopped using daily treatments. I wash my face, moisturize, use my wand and retin-A at night, and...wow. I can't wait to see the dermatologist next Friday. We were talking Accu.tane, for the love of Pete, and now I'm trying to determine if I can drop the concentration of my retin-A. I love love love it. I'm still getting used to it, but I love it.
On the sort-of-down side, only one person other than my husband has commented on my weight loss - someone I work with a few days a week who noticed that my pants were remarkably loose. Despite seeing significant changes in my body size, despite having to buy new pants, and despite losing the double chin I was developing... no one else seems to have noticed. Oh, and despite losing the teenage-level breakouts I was having. I don't *expect* many comments, but...I'm just surprised, I guess. I'll get over it, though. ;)
An...unexpected, I suppose, and not-very-nice surprise was finding out that the friends we have not talked to in over a year, the people we saw nearly every other week, who thought they couldn't have children until a 'miracle' conception (wonderfully timed to be confirmed - literally - on the day I knew my first IUI did not work, thanks to the arrival of my period), are...having another baby. Fortunately, my husband saw it on FB and warned me before I logged in and saw the u/s picture of little tiny baby feet. It just....took the breath right out of me. I thought I was over it. I thought I could deal with friends getting pregnant and having babies, but...it still hurts. I think it hurts more because we're not really *friends* anymore. I thanked N for telling me before I saw it, and asked what he thought about me NOT commenting on the post, and he said he thought it was fine, that they're not going to contact us separately anyway. The last I looked - and I plan to torture myself a bit after writing this by going to see the comments - there were 40+ comments on the picture / post, so I don't think she'll notice the lack of comments from our direction.
But ow. Ow. Ow.
I hope to write more tomorrow - things have been bottled up for way too long, and although I like to think that I am dealing pretty well, I have missed this outlet.
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
17. Compared to this time last year, are you: b) thinner or fatter?
b) the same (although I think stronger, as I've been lifting weights)
Um, yeah. No. Not exactly.
When we were in CA, I wore my standard black pants for dinner on Friday and Saturday nights. I also noticed that they were, ahem, a bit tight around the waist, moreso than they have been before. I also noticed that my running times have not been improving, or even really staying steady. I've been getting slower and have had to take more breaks during even a 45 minute run, which I should be able to knock out without any issues.
All of this led me, eventually (there was some denial involved...), to the scale. Yeah. 8 pounds heavier than I thought. *sigh*
No matter how much running and working out I do, if I am eating too much, it's not going to make a damn bit of difference. Time to stop using my workout schedule as an excuse for eating SO DARN MUCH, and start paying more attention to what goes in my mouth.
Which means that I am going to attempt a 'lifestyle change', starting now. I signed up for WW online this weekend, and I'm logging my foods religiously. Saturday - the first day I did it - I noticed just *how much* I have been snacking. And, because of my diabetes, I've been eating a lot of protein-rich but also fatty and calorie-heavy foods. I suspect this was not the best choice for my weight. It also hasn't been working so well for my fasting blood sugars.
So, it's back to weighing food, and realizing that a FULL handful of granola in the morning - even homemade! even made with agave syrup instead of sugar! even with olive oil instead of regular oil! - is probably a little too much. Portion control - I have not missed it, but I think my tush has.
Fortunately, my husband has agreed to sign up, too. I've said that I should lose about 18 pounds; he would like to lose 20-30. We'll see how this goes (as of right now, he has not yet signed up...but I do plan to hold him to that promise!).
Here's hoping that the pounds come off, that I feel lighter inside and out, and that I stop obsessing about food soon. (I think it's a natural side effect of cutting back on consumption, that I - and others - tend to think only about foodfoodfood for a period of time after cutting back. I sincerely hope it's only for a period of time.)
Monday, January 30, 2012
And boy, was I glad I did, even though I came back last week at least as stressed as when I left...if not more so. :)
His work trip was in southern CA, so while he worked hard on Saturday, I went to DisneyLand for the first time in many, many years. The last time I was there, I was with a friend whose annual work party was held there, which I thought was pretty excellent. This year, I went alone on Saturday and then with my husband on Sunday.
I am quite used to doing things alone - and, obviously, without children - but I did have a few experiences while in CA that made me wish that people could be more understanding / sensitive to people who are alone. Both times I had lunch without my husband - Friday, after I arrived, and Saturday, before I went in the park - I was ignored by the hostess as I approached the stand, until I said "I would like to have lunch." No greeting, no asking if I would like a table. And then, after I said that, BOTH hostesses said "Oh, just for one?" Well, yes - I am alone AND I would like to eat, as odd as that may seem!
Another instance occurred in the line for the last ride I rode by myself on Saturday. The line was loooong and people were restless, and when I got to the front, I was told to stand aside (on the line side of the turnstile) and let through a group of six. So I stood there, being bumped and jostled not only by the 6 people, but by the turnstile. The guy was...not helpful, and not pleasant, and it was so odd to see that at a park famed for its friendliness.
That aside, we had a lovely time on Sunday, despite crowds and insane children running around, and my husband's motion sickness. He rode a few rides with me and did quite well, though, so I have high hopes that he might be able to do other rides at other parks. I did okay with the whole no-kids thing, even though we were SURROUNDED by small children. Which, duh - we were at Disney - I kind of knew that would happen. My husband, apparently, has a soft spot for little girls who go all-out dressing up like their favorite princesses. It made me a little sad to think of the daughters that he won't get to spoil with princess dresses and hats and balloons and movies and... maybe that's okay, too. :>
I have another trip in a week and a half, and have to get moving on a LOT of work stuff this week. He's gone at the same time, again, so we'll have chaos for a week or so. But I do need to get back here and write more often...
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
One such moment occurred the other day, when I had a series of separate email exchanges with my parents.
My dad emailed about something else, then commented at the end of his email that my mother had mentioned getting another computer and she'd like to put it in my old room; he thought it was a good idea, and what did I think? I responded that we had chatted about it during our visit, and that I thought that room was a good choice, she should get a desktop or a full-function laptop, etc. I even suggested a location within the room - in the corner where, for the last 9 years, my mother has had a crib.
A crib. I'll just let that sink in a minute.
My mother purchased a crib - a very nice crib, mind you - when my SIL was pregnant with my niece. They didn't have much money when we were babies, so my brother and I, while we were obviously well-cared-for, did not sleep in designer cribs with matching sheets and crib (bed?) skirt. So mom indulged herself - and the baby (and later, her brother) had a lovely place to sleep when visiting.
Four years ago, I thought that eventually we'd be putting our own baby to sleep in that crib.
We all know that didn't happen. We didn't even come close. And since we stopped trying - stopped pursuing treatment - it's been harder and harder to visit and see that empty crib in the corner. This last visit, mom was using it as a catch-all for the yard sale stuff that we found throughout the house. I used it as a place to drape some of my clothes. And my husband commented that it sure was weird to sleep in a room with an empty and unused crib.
So, when I suggested that the computer could be placed in that room, in the corner where the crib was located, I never thought I'd get this response from my dad, one day later:
"We took the crib down in your room [side note: I haven't lived at home for more than 18 years; I think it's kind of cute that it's still "my" room.] and put it out on the curb. Hope someone takes it - it's a nice crib and barely used."
My mom said something similar in a later email, then commented that evening that someone had taken the crib after only an hour. "And it was in good shape - barely a tooth mark!"
Given my thoughts when seeing the crib in my old room - that they should just take it DOWN, already - I was surprised at how much it hurt to be told that they had disposed of the crib so blithely. It just reminded me that we don't and never will have a child who will sleep at his or her grandparents' houses. We'll never need to sneak the baby off to a quiet room for a nap after a day full of fun times with family and friends. We'll never have to be super duper quiet when going to bed at my parents' house, since the baby would be sleeping in the same room.
I imagine that I'll get over this soon, but for now, it still really hurts.