Friday, October 2, 2015

Unsettled boardeline unhappy

It's been a while.

September is over and there was my birthday (forgotten by Mike yet again till the evening) and his (remembered as always). I bought myself my birthday present on his behalf. I carefully chose his present.

I am not happy. Not so much about the birthdays but about the overall feelings and lack of connection. I don't even want to try an fix it which I think it's what is mostly unsettling. I have had these feelings yet again to hop on a plane and take a break from family life. Just be on my own for a few days. At least.

We talk normally about nothing important. Sex is to a minimum and I don't enjoy it at all. It actually annoys me the way he touches me, I just want it to be over with. He doesn't seem to mind, or is not interested or he just doesn't want to talk about it. That's our norm. It has always been our norm.

He has not even started looking for jobs in the UK. Asked me when I think he should start if he is like....12 or so. I'm so so tired.

The children are at least mostly great. Oliver loves school and while he has to get up much earlier than normal, he is quite ok. Only every evening when I come home (generally minutes after Mike and the children are home) I find him screaming his head off as he is doing time-out for a reason or another. Every. Evening. Every. Evening. So I don't know if every time he deserves this time out but it is clearly not working as it takes three times longer, he is in a fit, we are all stressed out. This morning was not a good one either. Himself and Mike were "doing a race" about getting dressed. Mike won (no comments here). Oliver cried (again it's not normal crying, it's shouting, hitting things etc) for about 20 minutes until I lost my patience and shouted at him back...not proud I know, I do this more often than I would like to admit...but he doesn't hear any reason when he is in such a state. And my day feels completely ruined. Or at least really on a bad start. On the drive to school I tried talking to him, asked him why he was behaving this way ("I don't know") and that I didn't know how to help him. Martina is 2.5 and way more reasonable. Not sure I am doing a good job at all as a mom, certainly not as a wife, and I'm doubting I'm even a good friend to anyone at this moment in time.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Back in Dublin

I of course didn't post in ages and thought I could not have zero entries in the month of August!

We returned to Dublin last tuesday, left California on Monday and I have to say the flight went very well, the children slept for about 5 hours (out of the 9.5 hours journey) and very quickly adjusted to the new time zone.
Our last few weeks in California were fabulous, Tahoe was great and while I suffered from altitude sickness (did not realise at all it was so high), I truly enjoyed it. Work concluded also very well and successfully. My trip to the East Coast was fantastic, I got to appreciate how much warmer a city feels if it's humid. Made lots of connections in Boston which I hope will be productive. Mike and the children coped very well in my week away, in fact I am convinced they are much calmer when I'm not around...should go away more often!

The big news is that Oliver has started school last thursday, my big boy! He seems to love it and we are very grateful for the cultural variety we have in his class, unfortunately this is not yet a common aspects of many schools in Ireland. We'll see how it progresses but so far so good.

Martina is also doing very well, I have sold most of my cloth nappies which I found quite emotional...but it's so good they can get more use and love. We will remove the sides from her cot today, and it seems we could do without the gates at the stairs too.

And my move to Nottingham is official among colleagues and students alike, they were all very very nice and while genuinely sad I am leaving, they saw what a great opportunity this will be for me. I managed to get the best deal with my current institution so I will retain an adjunct professorship for a few years at least and a minimal contract till the end of the summer 2016.

I look forward to moving now, a few things have happened that have really shaken me. Things I thought would never change, did...there may be more changes ahead too.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

It's official!

Right. It's a done deal. I have not officially signed the contract but I have informed my Head of School and many of my colleagues and friends. Mike had told his friends and we have started looking at locations to move! Very very exciting! I actually need this "task" not to be too sad about leaving friends I've shared the happiest and saddest times of the last 10 years. Hopefully we will stay in touch and more.

We are going to lake Tahoe on saturday for a week, it will be great to be away and regroup as a family, I feel I have been so distracted, nearly as if I've been living on some other planet.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The next step of the negotiation

Well well well, they cam back with a much more appropriate offer and I am now much more enthusiastic. In fact I have almost accepted it, just checking minor details. So it looks like we will be moving over to the UK!

I still have to sort out the situation at my current university. My plan was to talk to my colleagues/friends in person, as I got back, before rumours started. Same for my research group, I have funds to bring them all with me but it may still be a hard decision for some of them. I also ideally would like to keep some affiliation with such university, mostly because I have quite a bit of funding that are not transferrable but perhaps I can use them in Ireland for a while. So I talked to a senior colleague, who I have always considered my mentor and while he is sad I'm leaving he gave me his blessing. However something quite unpleasant happened and it seems the fact that I may be leaving has already been used politically to change some dynamics within the School. That pissed me off no end as I still have to go back and be there for a few months and the thought of finding a hostile environment makes me sick to my stomach. So I have started to inform my group already, have to do it via Skype and in bits and pieces as they are in different places. And the friends...may actually find out before I can say anything directly to them. The stress of it all has brought back my beloved headaches...


One more month in Davis and this summer has just flown by. We love it here so much, the children have developed a fantastic bond, Martina toilet trained and has been sleeping in a normal bed since we arrived with only a few falls and overall it has been a great working eperience. Who knows maybe we can do it again soon!

Friday, July 17, 2015

The negotiating part

On monday I got an email from the Head of School in Nottingham with an informal offer...HR wants us to agree before they make me an official offer. This already sounds like they don't want to chance me getting a counter offer from my current university.

The offer was shit. Like borderline offensive actually. The salary was lower (a lot) than my current salary, they proposed a start up package which was less than what I got in 2006 when I got my first academic job. Insane. I was so so furious. This was not serious at all, already I was considering a lower academic grade than what I had applied for, the least I was expecting was an offer at the top of the scale, personnel and equipment. So after a long consideration I wrote a very long email back expressing all my disappointment and saying that at this conditions I just could not see the benefit of moving. I got an email very soon after saying there was some room to improve the offer but not much.

I practically gave up. I am not sure they can meet my minimum requirements (which are non negotiable) and if we are just talking about them with no additional benefit I am not sure it is worth at all. So here I am waiting but not really feeling great about this. The more time passed the more I'm actually pissed off with the whole process. Yes, yes it is an experience, I know. But to decide after the interview that my cv (my cv! Not my performance, not my research) was a bit too junior sounds like bs. Surely they knew my cv backwards by the time I got to be interviewed. My conclusion is that they want me cheap and I'm not willing to move without benefits for my career. I am not that desperate, I have tenure in my University, I have a very well oiled group that runs smoothly even if I'm at the other side of the world, no way I'm starting from scratch. The UK university is probably better than mine, but it's not Harvard. Worst case I'll stay put and keep looking.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Soooo it seems like I got a job offer!

The two-week wait felt exactly (and I mean EXACTLY) like those 2ww. Some days I was feeling good, some not so much, kept checking emails and the Irish phone for news at all hours (mostly from 4 am to 9am), reviewed a gazillion times how it all went etc. By wednesday evening of week 2 California time I had totally given up. Imagine I also had a dream it went well, but that was in the first week when we all know we feel much more positive.

Then when I was resigned I would not get good news I got an email from the Head of School in the UK institution asking if we could skype the following morning. Mhh sure, can you please tell me where I stand? And waiting a full day?? (It was about 10am California time and he asked if we could skype 7am California time the day after). So I asked for some light and he said it was a bit complicated and we could talk now if I was free. Of course I was and I felt like I had just peed on a stick...

The situation is this: the position I had been invited to apply for was a full prof, top of the rank etc for which I never thought I was really suitable (my cv is still a bit too young, that is a role one gets later in the academic career, it has a lot of responsibility etc), but sure if they thought I was why not giving it a shot. The interview panel saw in me all the potential, thought I was a great fit but perhaps a bit too junior for a full prof position. So he said, they still want me and would I consider joining the School at Associate Prof level? With a career plan for promotion to Full Prof?


Of course I didn't say that, I said if the package was good, if I could get in somewhere higher in the scale etc I'd be happy to consider it. So he was delighted, I was hiding my happiness as best I could, but they are giving up the full prof level to have me (they could have re-advertised and hope for more appropriate level candidates and not hire anyone) and it feel really good to know they want me. Also this level is much more my level and I know now I can negotiate well as I feel much stronger in what I can ask for.

Mike is happy, worried but happy. Made some (joke) comments on how he would have preferred to be married to a full prof (I answered he can marry one anytime he wants) and would my title still be Prof ('d think he is a farmer and not in academia at all). So we'll see how things go between us, I appreciate all the comments, I just feel we are in such a routine, things work well, we have good arrangements etc but the spark is totally gone. I could not be bothered planning things and sharing them as we have are not on the same wavelength. I asked him what was his main worry and he is worried about his job...which has no career plan, no promotion and no project! So really, he could be stacking shelves and be as much as satisfied. But I can't be the one suggesting what he can do when we move, he has to find it himself.

On a different note Martina one day last week said she was done with the nappies, wanted to put on Oliver underpants and never had an accident since! We bought her underpants, which she loves, and she is dry at nights too (but we do put on a nappy just in case). Will have to sell all my beloved cloth nappies once I'm back in Dublin, bohooo...

Monday, June 29, 2015

Out of the Country and back in again

Oh dear, it really has been this long already! Thank you to my dear friend Valery for checking in, I thought I might do a quick update.
So the first month here in Davis has been productive, I have submitted a major grant proposal, a revised version of a paper and did all my training. Ordered some material we needed to start actually doing something in the lab and prepared for the interview.

Yes the interview. I flew out on monday, landed in Dublin on tuesday at lunch time, flew to the UK on thursday morning early, back to Dublin late on friday night and back to San Francisco on Saturday morning. Let me tell you it was intense. What did I get out of it all? (a part from a uti which started coming on 2 hours on the plane ride back to SFO...) I will know by the end of next week. I thought it went well, but it may be just another Fulbright fiasco, I did my best, not necessarily I get the job. It was a great experience and it will be a fabulous opportunity if it comes through. I promise I will keep you posted.

Mike and I are more apart than ever. Yes we are very civil, we have our routine, we have sex, etc, but we don't talk. I actually don't feel like talking much at all to him, I rather talk to friends and colleagues. To be honest this has always been the case, even during the treatments, if you are bothered to check out old posts, I was very much dealing with it all by myself. Only now it seems so much more obvious and so much harder to accept. I knew I always compromised on the emotional aspect and mental connection of our relationship, I thought after all nobody is perfect. Just now the fact that he seems to be the only one not knowing what to say if I am worried or need reassurance about the interview etc, is unbearable. The trip away was great to get some space. I was very happy to come back and see the children but with him I am feeling very much I am playing a part. I will give it some time, we have had lots going on, maybe it's just that.