Monday, November 30, 2015

Ask me if I'm happy

This is the title of an Italian movie I really liked (and I think it sounds better in Italian than in English, but ah well).

So what's new. Not much. The teaching term is over, now one week of apparent calm and then exams will storm the buildings like every year. It will be over too eventually.
Mike is back to his normal self. No real conversation since, he is still doing things for the move, looking for a job, making arrangements for early January to go over etc. Our talking is back to trivial and day to day stuff. We did the shopping for Christmas on line for the children and he did most of the research which was good.

Yesterday we went out for lunch. For the first time in years I'd say we had a baby sitter and we went with friends into town for a catch up and a bite to eat. It was nice, we get on very well with them and yet it felt to me I was acting all the time. Acting to be happy in my relationship, acting to be interested in the upcoming wedding of two of our friends, acting to cheer the news of the third pregnancy of another common friend. They all looked so so happy...
When we came home we put up the Christmas tree (never one of my favourite things to do really) and I was looking at Mike and the children fluffing up the branches (we have a very expensive, very real looking fake tree) and putting up the decoration and I was feeling so much sadness... I'm sure it's also hormonal but still. I so wish I could share that happiness that lightness of the heart...while I just wished I was somewhere else. And this is so so heavy on me, I feel totally responsible for the lack of enthusiasm, for again feeling very much alone (I worry a lot about the move and just keep it to myself, Mike never asks), completely preoccupied with things other than the family and it's not right. I started thinking it will be the last Christmas in this house for sure, got a bit emotional. When I told Mike he said "let's make it a good one" and he is right, I just don't know where to find the magic dust...

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The talk

I brought the children to Italy the last weekend of October and I flew back late on monday while they stayed with my parents till the following thursday. I had a super time, talked a lot with my sister and my best friend and things became even clearer.

I was not set on having a "talk" as such but it somehow happened and there was the right occasion. It started with Mike coming to pick me up at the airport. This would not be too unusual but the fact that he parked the car and actually came inside the terminal definitely was. I thanked him and commented that it was unusual and he said "really?". Yes, really.

We drove into work together and I started asking some questions about his work and the move to the UK and he was yet again completely disengaged on all fronts. So I thought I could not let the opportunity go by and really opened up my soul about how I felt and how little supported I have been feeling all along. He was very quiet. We (I) talked about feelings and emotions, and how I don't feel loved at all, I reported several examples throughout the years and he could only agree that this and that was really not a nice thing to say/do. We talked some more in the evening, I made clear that I don't want to break up the family but I feel very much trapped in a situation where I am alone in most of the important decisions, that I am the one pulling us everywhere, that I don't see him having much of an aspiration for himself in just about anything that goes on. I asked him what does he want for himself and he didn't know. He was clearly shaken and I felt this huge relief of finally having told him. The main points were the lack of sharing thoughts and feelings, the really just having sex was what made us different from the rest of the people we know, and our very different understanding of loving. I don't feel at all we are partners.

A couple of days went by with little conversation of any relevance, the children came back, my parents were here for a few days so not much happening.

Then he emailed me one day last week saying he was barely keeping it together and could we talk some more. So we did of course, I'm never the one that doesn't want to talk. Again it felt like I was the only one talking but I suppose he just wanted to understand more how I felt. In the end it was clear that he missed more the fact that I was no longer affectionate and I explained that I have no problem being affectionate, but not sexual because I can hardly have sex with someone I feel doesn't get me much at all. He accepted that I think. He asked me what I would have done if we had no children, would I have left him? I pointed out I clearly have a very poor track record in the way I choose partners, but that probably I still would have tried to talk to him and get him to at least understand how I feel. I don't know if I can bring back any feelings other than deep family love (but not like a brother, he asked that, no it's much more than that).

Since then he suddenly found a new enthusiasm about the move (he is looking for schools for the children, jobs etc) and went back running. I'm glad for him, I hope he is not doing it just for me.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

"Emotionally starved"

This is the definition my psychotherapist used to describe what is going on inside my head and heart. And I realised this is perfectly fitting.

Till we had plans, things to do, to keep busy, etc. I did not notice that my emotions did not get sufficient attention (understatement of the year). Throughout my infertility years I had you: my cyber friends. A couple of whom are very good friends in real life too. I needed this space where I could talk, open my heart and I knew, I always knew I would have gotten the support, the comfort, the kind words. Mike has always been extremely kind, but never capable of sitting down with me and listen to my broken soul. Or better, he listened. Never had anything to say back. That's just not what we do. And for 12 years I think I was ok with this, I had my friends, I had you, I had my many projects. Oliver, the first years, Martina, her first years... we are busy, not much time to think, to observe and take stock. We always had something to do around the house, holidays to plan. I mostly planned everything, Mike very happy to go along (most of the time) and me happy to do the planning.

I know things changed early this year. Or better, they didn't change at all, I just suddenly saw the situation differently.

As I started looking for a job somewhere else, Mike was not there at all for me. Not a word like...ever. No plans, dreams or even curiosity. Surely he saw how impossible the working environment had become for me, surely he must have known I am not the kind of person that just complains about things. I would have acted. And I did. On my own. I wrote in May how he suddenly had a major display of emotions (all negatives) and that for me was a turning point. The turning point. One of those you remember forever. If my feelings had been tested up till that point, there was when something broke. It's not the job hunting, or the event itself, it's how obviously incapable we are of talking to one another. I did not see that coming at all. Not only that, but on that occasion I absolutely did not share nor I understood his feelings. We are scientists, it's in our nature to have a curious attitude, to love new things, to discover. I realised I would be much better off on my own in my adventure. Clearly the children are a significant factor. I am not doing anything rushed only because of them.

I love him, I will always love him. I just wish I was free and love him from afar, like I love my parents. I'd like to be free to do my things without thinking "oh I better let him know this or the other" and it's always only functional. I am not even mentioning my excitement about starting new things, setting up a new lab, new collaborations, new projects. He never asks of course, but also he is always going to be lukewarm no matter what we say/do.

It could totally be me. In fact I think it is me. I tend to get bored. I'm amazed I only noticed it now after 12 years together. With my first husband it took about 4 years total time. Clearly we had no children, it was so much easier to just pack up and go. And we stayed very good friends (if we ever were friends, again we had zero in common, zero conversation, at least with Mike we have the science in common if not so much the emotional connection) we are still in touch for birthdays etc 14 years after splitting up. How do I pick these people? Am I so so blind that I don't see macroscopic stuff like the fact that if I have a concern as irrational as it may be I do not feel understood by my partner? My mom always mentioned how strange it was that Mike had barely any contact with his own family bar the mandatory sunday phone call. And I was getting very much uptight about it answering that the fact that they were less attached didn't mean they didn't love each other. This still stands. I mean...maybe the major thing was when he didn't go home last Christmas when he was told his mother had days to live....I think he loved her. Is that the way I want to be loved? Most definitely not. Can we work on this as a couple? I doubt it. He has not changed, I have.

I need new emotions, new everything. And the children are great, they will always bring something new, it's such an amazing thing seeing the world through their eyes. Now I just have to find a way to move forward, and do the least amount of damage.
As ever, thank you so so much for your shoulders, I desperately need them.

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.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Already a week!

We are in Davis a week already and it is such an easy place to be we have settled in brilliantly. The 10.5 hours journey over was not bad at all, Martina slept for maybe one and half hour after lunch (it was her nap time) and Oliver could not believe his luck that he had no restriction to watching cartoons, ipad, reading a book, more ipad, games, more cartoons, and he was very well behaved. Then of course the journey is long and the excitement wears off pretty quickly, so we had a few laps around the isles and met a few people who were delighted to entertain a bit the children. I managed to watch 3 movies, though not continuously, but I got to the end of all three.

Mike's amazing cousin Ann had got me a bike which is the main way of transport here in Davis and they gave us also one of their car too for the summer which saved us a lot in renting one. We came up to Davis last saturday and the house we are renting is fantastic. It has a lovely garden, it is very spacious and just child friendly. The owners are a lovely couple who are currently touring around in their vintage car they have restored. We are about 6 minutes bike from the university, Mike got himself  a second hand bike that he will sell back to the same shop at the end of the summer and we borrowed a trailer for the children. They love it, we love it.

Work for me is slow as it was still term time in UCDavis and my collaborators were still very busy, but that suited me fine and I have managed to do some more work on a major proposal as well as my interview back in the UK. I love working from the garden, there is a lovely decked area with a table and a fancy parasol and I can be in shorts and bikini top and work on my tan as well as the proposal. Mike's set up in his group is much better organised and so he has already done a safety induction, discussed the projects etc. Next week should be better for me too.

The children settled into the new time zone within a couple of days which was brilliant, and in fairness Martina slept quite well even the first night. The love love love the child care, it's such a cute place, they have a completely shaded garden with chickens and fruit trees! Mike bikes them there and goes to work, it's not directly in line but everything is very near. We have found the nearest Walmart and we have been to the farmers' market this morning. It's fantastic. We will go somewhere for a week in July as the daycare is closed and then again the first week in August. I am a bit nervous I'll do very little between the travelling and the holidays, hopefully I'll conclude something and more importantly learn some thing valuable. I'll try and keep the blog updated and if you are around a free to meet some weekend we'd love it!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

It's nearly time!

We are flying off for our US adventure tomorrow. So so exciting but also a bit sad having to say goodbye to colleagues and friends. Yes yes I know it's only 3 months and we'll be back, but with everything else going on on the job front I am not sure we'll be in Dublin much longer...I got yesterday an official email that I have been invited for interview on the 25th and 26th of June. I have to fly back to the UK (via Dublin, much cheaper and and I can just spend a couple of nights at home) in less than a month time! I have to prepare yet another presentation, let's hope for the best.

So we are leaving at lunch time, we have 3 small suitcases and a big one, we'll buy what we need in California if we are missing something, can't be bothered packing the whole house. Wish us well for the trip and I'll do my best to updated soon!

Thursday, May 21, 2015


Time is slipping through my fingers it seems. All of a sudden is the end of another week and we are one week away from leaving for Davis!

I went back to the UK on monday and the visit was excellent once again. Shortlisting will take place tomorrow, it appears I will be shortlisted and they'll fly me back from California sometime over the summer for the interview. Phew, that's intense but so so flattering they think I am a good candidate for the post! Mike when I told him about me going back for a second visit had a serious melt down. I never see them coming and every time it wrecks my mind and shakes me to the core. His negativity was global, could not see us living in the UK, did it not matter to me that the children were born in Ireland, he could not imagine them growing up in the UK, English people are very different form the Irish etc. Serious serious shit came up. Thankfully these are rare events, in 12 years together I think this is the third time, but I know I can't take many more of them and told him as much. The following day I had a headache from hell, couldn't eat etc. Only in the evening he had already changed his mind as he saw that there are a ton of opportunities for him too, he in fact knows someone there already etc. It's unreal. He is completely incapable of dealing with changes, in fact he doesn't want to talk about possibilities until they are more probabilities and so all my efforts of initiating a discussion on possibly moving for the last few weeks were ditched pretty quickly by him with "well, there's really nothing to talk about yet, is there?". I do feel we are very disconnected at the moment, I have my own things, my own thoughts and he is somewhere in the background. I actually prefer to discuss this possibility with colleagues who are super supportive than with my husband. There's something wrong here, isn't it? Let's hope the summer will help us regroup.

Oliver is back to his normal sweet self and is a pleasure to have around, however this weekend, starting tomorrow evening I'm on my own with the children as Mike is running a race in the west of Ireland with his friends. So give me some strength and calm, I'll need it!!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

The more I waited...

...the more difficult it was to start blogging again.

So if you are still out there occasionally checking on me, I will give you a brief bullet point update of the last while.

  • Work: I had been invited to the UK to give a talk at a particular university. Following the talk, I have been strongly invited to submit an application for a top ranked position at said university. I did. I got an email yesterday saying that as the process is slow, would I go back before i leave for the US to meet other senior management staff to look for possible interactions etc? This is a major opportunity but I am torn as to whether we should really consider moving or not. Some decisions will have to be made soon.
  • Davis: three weeks to go! Both Mike and I will engineer some travelling (work related) while in the US, it's a unique opportunity to strengthen our cv. So Mike will fly across to Wisconsin, while I will go to North Carolina and Boston for a few days. It's practically the same distance as it would be flying from Europe, but somehow it seems less of a problem when you are already there!
  • Family: Oliver spent two weeks in Italy with my parents, I had been invited to give a talk in Trieste, so I flew home with him on a saturday night and flew back on my own on the tuesday. He had a great time and my parents brought him back yesterday. There is a bit of "deprogramming" to do as always, but it's not that bad at all thankfully. Martina meanwhile enjoyed some only child time with mamma and daddy and we had the amazing experience of only having to settle one for the night! What a bliss!!
I hope you are all doing well, I'll try and get back to blogging again. Hugs to all.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Davis Project

As it often happens, everything is coming together really nicely!

We have a house in Davis, a sublet from a lovely couple that gave a really good deal we think and this is all due to Mike's cousin who went to see the place and talked to the owner. She sort of made a case for us as visiting scientists, and the owner decided to reduce the asking price also based on the fact that her husband is three quarters Irish and one quarter Italian (the American way!) so he thought we would have been the perfect tenants! We are delighted, the house has a lovely, secure, and shaded garden, it is close to the University and shops and has space if my sister and parents are coming to visit.

Next we sorted out also childcare. After thinking a good bit and thank to my dear friend Rain we decided to look into small day cares and we found this amazing one called Magikal Child, only 12 children, running since 1999 and of Waldorf inspiration. I skyped with the owner twice, she is so lovely, a yoga teacher and the place looks really nice. She showed me the rooms, the lovely children, and it felt just right. It is only 10-15 min cycling from the house so we hope we can leave the car at home most of the time. Again she gave us a very good deal, it is unusual to have children staying only a few months and summer is quiet for them so again we felt really loved by everyone.

And yesterday we celebrated our 8th anniversary! Onwards and upwards!

Monday, March 9, 2015

#MicroblogsMonday: Bad news, Good News, Good News

No Fulbright for me. Gutted to say the least, not sure what I could have done differently as the interview went very well, so hopefully I will get a better idea when I get feedback in April. Maybe there was just a better candidate!

Meanwhile I had also been shortlisted for internal funding through my University to sponsor the trip the the US, I went for interview and I heard just last friday that they funded me! They did cut the budget (expected) but it's still better than nothing.

Both Mike and I will retain our salary for the duration of our stay (we have booked the flights, 29th of May-24th of August) which is great news and we have probably also found a house to rent in Davis too!

Monday, February 2, 2015

How it went

I think it went well!! Of course I started nursing a cold from hell on Wednesday evening, headaches, stuffed nose and even dizziness, the works. By Thursday night I could barely breathe and work had been hellish. On Friday morning I woke up with a headache, I had a 9am lecture just before the interview and just felt like crawling back into bed.
But a couple of aspirins and three coffees by the time it was 11 and I was much better!
I left the interview very pleased with myself and sure of course I'm second guessing some of the answers I gave there and then, but that's part of the game isn't it?
I will know in March. Fingers crossed!!

Monday, January 26, 2015

#MicroblogsMonday: Oliver's sleep, dry nights and Fulbright

Oliver's sleep has much improved. We went to visit FIL this weekend and Oliver seemed very very happy to share the room with Martina. In fact he insisted to sleep in the same room as her. Didn't wake up till 7.45 am and it was the best weekend away we ever had from that point of view. When we came home on sunday night we moved Martina's bed into his room and again there was not a problem. Maybe we found a very simple solution? Maybe he was just lonely? Time will tell! With proper sleep and proper routine he is back to be a lovely child 99.5% of the time and we are all much more relaxed.

Another thing I didn't update the blog about was the fact that while Oliver has been dry at night almost always, we would have had accidents happening every so often and so we kept him in a nappy just in case. When we came back from Italy he said: "Mamma I don't want to have a nappy anymore, I'm 4 now and I can wear underpants at night. I will not have an accident" and he never did. My big boy!

Finally, 4 days till the Fulbright interview. A bit nervous, mostly about the fact that this week is so so full in work I won't have time to pee and I'm afraid by the time friday comes it'll be a miracle if I can put two sentences together....

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Please, sleep!

Thank you so much for the kind words about MIL, we appreciated a lot.

This post is going to be about Oliver. As always going on holidays has a lethal effect on this boy's routine. The last couple of night in Italy he just didn't seem tired at all and wanted to be up and chatting till all hours. He probably was up with my dad till about 11.30 pm. In the morning he had no problem getting up at his usual 8.30. Not good. He was cranky and hyper all day. By the time we got home we had to go to my in laws for the funeral and again he was still totally off form, in that kind of way that makes you going demented as he is pushing buttons I didn't even know I had. Next we started reinforcing a proper routine and he is just plain resisting. He answers back, he is rude to us and just seems to want to scream his head off all the time at the drop of a hat. We are tip toeing around him. We tried to be strict, we wrote rules in lovely colours we all signed but it's not having any effect. Some days I actually worry he is on the spectrum. The other days I'm telling myself I'm as usual over reacting and he is just a 4 year old. He doesn't want to go to sleep, he wants me to read a book, then tell him a story, then lie down on the carpet, then in his bed. This last night went on for over an hour and I was so so tired I had to go to bed and get Mike on the case. He doesn't want daddy, only mamma. He ended up staying up till 10.30 when he then fell asleep on the couch and Mike brought him up to bed. He was up at 4.30 and in our room (which has been happening since we have come back) and wanting to sleep with us. Which means I no longer sleep at all as he is poking me in the back, wants to hold my hand etc. And I have to get up at 6.45 to be in work for 9 am teaching. I am a walking wreck. And while I tell myself it's a phase, deep down I wonder "is it really?". And what about Martina? She can sleep for Ireland now, it's a pleasure putting her to bed (which I never do because Oliver would throw a fit) and at least so far we had no regression.
Rant over, dreading the night ahead. Any advice welcome.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Mother-in-Law: the final chapter

And then it happened. We were in Italy and on New Year's day Mike got the call that MIL had been brought to hospital with (yet another) infection. She was unresponsive like every other time she went to hospital with an infection. We didn't think too much of it, this has been a regular occurrence certainly for the last 2 years, who would have thought...on Jan the 2nd Mike got a missed called on his phone from the hospital, he tried calling back but never managed to be connected. He called his sister and she told him that they were called to the hospital because MIL's blood pressure was very very low and they thought she may not have long to live. By the time the got there though, the pressure had picked up and it was no longer so critical. She was on IV antibiotics and the doctors said they were going to treat her for 5 days and reassess the situation. I asked Mike if he wanted to go home, we could find a flight etc, but no, he didn't think it was necessary. So we waited and every day there was no news. On the 5th Mike's sister called him to let him know that the doctors told the family there was nothing more they could do, they were suspending all treatments and upping the opioids to keep her comfortable in her final days. They thought it could have been a week, maybe more. This was the toughest moment for Mike, it was real, his mom was dying and this was it. We were scheduled to fly home on the 6th and Mike didn't want to rush home earlier, nothing he could do and MIL was unconscious anyway. Unfortunately she passed away on the 6th early afternoon. Her twin sister from California arrived on time the morning of the 6th so she was there which was nice. For us it has been rough. Flying home on the 6th, very very late (we were in bed at around 2am) and got up and ready to drive down to Mike's parents on the 7th, children very wired up with all the changes etc. But then we were there, I mentioned before about the Irish funerals, they are something else. It was so so nice to see so many friends of Mike driving over 200km to pay their respect on Wednesday night (they had the wake at the house) and driving back later on in an appalling weather. The funeral was on Thursday and it was a lovely ceremony (the little I saw due to Martina not really cooperating). And so now we move on and stay close together knowing how quickly things can change. And you are never ready, even when it was so long coming.

Our last memories of her are beautiful which is so nice. Mike and Martina went to them for Christmas, I had cooked homemade lasagne and they loved them. I stayed home with Oliver who was sick and in fact started antibiotics on Christmas day. I would never have forgiven myself if we had all gone down and she got sick afterwards. MIL phoned me on Stephen's day to thank me about the lasagne and how delicious they were, I told her we were all going to visit them early January as soon as we were back from Italy. And we did, only she was no longer with us. Everyone is putting on a brave face you know? Nobody cried or was upset, everyone knew she had no quality of life at all an at least she is no longer suffering etc. But still. I wrote many times about how inspiring she was and how dignified she was. I will keep her alive in our hearts and talk often about her to the children. they won't remember her I know but at least they will know of her through our own memories.

May 2015 be happier from now on.