Second Shift

A friend of mine recently posted on Facebook, “It is a truth universally acknowledged that when one part of your life starts going okay, another falls spectacularly to pieces. – Bridget Jones” I nodded so hard I thought I’d give myself whiplash.

Maybe “fall spectacularly to pieces” is a bit dramatic in my case, but hear me out.

During my years of being somewhat underemployed in both a financial sense and as far as time and energy required to do my job, I threw myself into our home and family. And I enjoyed it! It only seemed fair that if Ed was bearing the brunt of the financial burden, the least I could do was make sure that everything under the roof he was keeping over our heads was in order. I worked four days a week with zero expectation of overtime, which left me with one whole weekday to run errands, make calls, be home to deal with repairmen, and so on. It made sense: I wasn’t the primary breadwinner, my job wasn’t deadline-oriented, and I had a little extra time to burn. Someone needs a ride to the airport? I’m on it! Forgot to get a birthday card? I’ll pick one up and make sure there’s postage on it. Need someone to brainstorm Christmas gift ideas and browse stores? That’s where I’m a Viking! And again: I did these things willingly. I’m confident that if the roles were reversed and I had the more demanding job, Ed would have done the same. My contribution was largely simply making life easier for Ed, and by extension, our families.

The accepted narrative within our families was largely that Ed – poor, sainted Ed – was saddled with this loser of a wife who didn’t have much of a career and certainly wasn’t adding children to the mix so of course she should be happy to pick up the dry cleaning! She should be happy that anyone wants her at all!

But now, I have a job that I not only love (seriously, it’s a revelation to walk into work without a sense of dread) but that requires more of my time and energy. Add in a slightly longer commute and my available hours to get stuff done is shortened dramatically. And while my earning power isn’t quite equal to Ed’s, it’s leaps and bounds better and we’re working similar hours. In fact, he’s had to wait for me on more than one occasion as I race to meet a deadline or talk with my VP. As cheesy as this sounds, I feel like it’s finally MY time career-wise. And I’d like to be afforded the space to grow and make my goals happen.

AND YET.

It’s entirely possible that I’m not being direct enough about what I need, but it also feels pretty damn obvious that if one area of my life is ramping up, another is going to need to take a backseat. And when I am direct about that need, I’d like the courtesy of the same understanding that I’ve afforded everyone around me for years. Which is: OK, I’ve got your back. You do you.

So while everything isn’t falling spectacularly to pieces necessarily, it feels like I’m failing in one area of my life where I’ve always felt like I had my shit together. It’s hard to celebrate my new success when the reaction I get is that I’m selfish or neglectful. But then I remind myself that I’m not asking for any more than I received before; I’m just asking people to maybe handle their own lives so I can focus on mine for a minute.

FAQs

How are you settling in to the new home and new jobs?

Surprisingly well! For all of Ed’s fears about BAY AREA TRAFFIC our commute to work (we carpool pretty much every day) is about 15 minutes and the drive home seems to run about 25 minutes. For those not in the know: we fucking WIN. Our new place isn’t much smaller square footage-wise than our house, but it’s configured differently (duh) and we’re getting creative with our organization. Also: we’re painfully aware of how much stuff we have and how much of that we just sort of…shoved in the garage and ignored. Molly is adjusting nicely to having to get into an elevator in order to use the pet potty area in our complex; she’s, uh, quite popular with a couple of other dogs who seem to have no issue humping her while she’s just trying to poop. Boundaries, guys. I love my new job so very much and Ed is happier than I’ve seen in a long time. It’s pretty obvious this needed to happen.

How’s the family adjusting to you being further away?

With their characteristic understanding and unwavering supp-HA JUST KIDDING. We were recently told that we will regret this move. Like that’s just a fact. So that’s fun. However, there are certain branches of the family who are happy for us. We tend to talk to those people more frequently, quelle surprise.

What do you miss about Chico?

My esthetician Jen and my nail lady Lisa. For reals. My eyebrows look insane, my mustache is a legit contender for Movember, and I got the world’s crappiest pedicure yesterday. It’s madness. Oh, and the beer-cheese dip at Sierra Nevada. That stuff is tits.

What are your Thanksgiving plans?

We’re going to Ed’s sister’s house where we will relax and watch 80s movies with our nieces and drink champagne and, most importantly, not endure the pressure of hosting. It will be glorious.

How’s re-watching Gilmore Girls affecting morale in your household?

Just hearing the opening bars of the theme song forces Ed to his knees, fist-shaking at the air screaming, “Noooooo!” and questioning every decision in his life that brought him to this point. He does agree, though, that Logan is a douche.

And There’s Excellent Cuban Food Here, Too!

I’ve been living in the Bay Area and at my new job for just over a week and HOLY SHIT DO I LOVE BOTH SO MUCH.  Everyone at the office has been beyond welcoming and kind and fun, and I’m impressed by the organization and training offered.  I’m still in quite a few workshops and learning the ropes, but I hope to start “earning my keep” around here soon with some real assignments.

Ed and Molly are still in Chico, which has been a source of great amusement (have you ever tried Face Time with a dog?) and also incredible sadness as I drive away from them on Sundays.  There’s an end in sight and we knew this would be the temporary situation when we pushed forward with this plan but that hasn’t stopped me from pulling off the freeway to have a good sob in a gas station parking lot like I’m Britney Spears circa 2007.  I feel like such a dependent baby when I admit this, but the truth is I like my husband and the little routines and fun we’ve created together.  I suppose it would be more concerning if I didn’t miss him, right?  To be clear: I’m not weeping at my desk or anything.  We’re certainly used to being apart and doing our own thing during the day while at work and I’m definitely occupied from 8-5 but it will be great to share a glass of wine and make dinner and talk about our day in our new home.  On a purely selfish note: I am so fucking tired of driving back and forth and living out of a suitcase and not knowing where any of my shit is.

There’s also some guilt on my part.  While I miss Ed, I’m also having a wonderful time staying with my family and making new friends and re-connecting with old friends.  I’m developing work friendships and joining clubs.  Bubba has been a delightful host and source of near-constant amusement and distraction.  It’s such fun to be here while the Giants are in the play-offs.  It isn’t as hot as the face of the sun. I get to see my mom since she’s working down here temporarily.  It’s not a terribly rough transition all things considered.  It’s a great life.  It’ll be even better when we’re all here, though.

Coming Out of Hiding and Updates

Well, hello there!  I had made the blog private for a bit after getting an email that referenced the blog.  I wondered if I was making a mistake by revealing so much of myself but then realized, Hey!  If someone doesn’t like what I have to say, that’s his or her problem and (presumably) no one is being forced to read here.  So, thanks for the advice not to “be so fuckin mean” danikalifornia78@hotmail.com.  But I think I’ll just keep on proceeding as usual.  I make it a point not to take advice from anyone still using a hotmail account, who can’t be bothered to employ proper grammar, punctuation, and spelling in his or her emails, and who doesn’t seem to grasp the irony that sending a message to a stranger for the sole purpose of calling her “bitter” and “so fuckin mean” might actually BE mean.

ANYHOO.

I gave notice at my job yesterday and start a new gig in the Bay Area on October 6th.  I am exceedingly excited about this new opportunity and that the plans and goals we set out to accomplish by the end of the year are coming together beautifully.  That’s…probably all I’ll be saying about the new job here.  I don’t want to Dooce this up before I even start, you know?

I told Ed in January that 2014 was going to be our year and, while there’s been a lot of hard work and sacrifice and sleepless nights and freakouts, it’s a huge relief to see it pay off.  Our weekends have been full of packing, purging, fixing little things around the house, and other sundry errands and we have yet to kill each other yet so I’m calling this project a win.

We have taken a few trips to scout out possible places to live and, thankfully, found several where we can envision ourselves and Molly being at home.  I’ve been amusing myself by pretending we’re on House Hunters as we look at places and comment on various features.  “Ooh, granite counter tops!  I like the open floor plan!”  The poor leasing agents think I’m being serious and engage with me as Ed rolls his eyes and/or shoots me “Can you be an adult for five minutes here?” looks.  Hey, I need to find a way to make this process less tedious because after four places?  They all blend together.  Let me have this, Ed.  I ask for so little!

So, to sum up: new job, the move is ON, and we are going to be homeless soon unless we pull the trigger and sign a lease once I can stop acting like a goofball.  Fall is off to a great start.

Can We All Agree

That responding, “I’m sorry” when someone tells you you’re moving to *any given place that this person deems unappealing* that you’re being a dick? Because that serves no purpose other than making you look like a jerk who not only cannot and/or will not be positive about someone else’s news, but also must try to make that person actively feel bad. It also pretty much confirms my sometimes-unfair-and-stereotypical view about “small town, small minds” so good going.

Mostly I’m annoyed that I didn’t have the idea to respond, “It’s OK. It means I won’t live near assholes like you anymore!” until right this moment. Zing!

We’ll Call it “Plan B”

Ed: “What’s under our bed?”

Me: “Some purses and my wedding dress. Should we take it? I don’t want to store it, but it’s not like I’ll need it. I can’t believe I let my mom talk me into boxing it up and keeping it.”

Ed: “Oh yeah, I guess we’re not going to pass it on to anyone. Keep it. Maybe you’ll give it to Bubba.”

Me: “Why would I give my brother my wedding dress?”

Ed: “I didn’t say it was a sound idea.”