Archive for the '[Etc]' category

She's on Her Way

Nov 11 2010 Published by under [Etc], [LifeTrajectories]

There I was, tucking my pretty pressed shirt into my skirt, sliding into my velvet blazer, layering on my favorite pearl necklaces that felt so cool against my skin. There I was, drink pressed into my left hand, ice cubes jingling, working the human connection with my right. Shaking hands, smiling, throwing down witty banner to the amusement of my companions.

All this bullshit, while my grandmother lay in a hard bed many miles away, moving toward the end of her 97 years. Simplicity at the end, the in and out of breaths that are heavy while she sleeps.

There I was, checking my reflection in the mirror, smoothing a shiny pink gloss onto my skinny little mouth. All while my aunt applied Vaseline to the lips of my grandmother- you see, they are cracked and dry because she hasn't had anything to drink in 4 days.

This week, my life will go on, but hers will not. Today, this day, I can look toward the future. I have the privilege of considering where I will be in 10 years, with my love and my children and my dreams. She does not.

I am not there. I am never there, it seems, because science takes me elsewhere. And sometimes it is too easy for family to equate distance with caring. If I lived down the block, you know, I would love them more. If I saw them every Sunday, if I shared meals and more frequent conversation. If I took an interest in the people who raised me, the people who will always love me the most. Why do I have to be so far? Why am I always somewhere else?

But next week, I'll be there to hold my father's hand. To grieve however it is that I'll need to grieve at the end. To lay my hand on the ground, to give thanks for what was, and for what is. That is what I can do.

15 responses so far

The Squeaky Clean Wheel Gets the Grease

Oct 17 2010 Published by under [Etc], [LifeTrajectories]

I am neat. My husband is clean.

The converse is also true- I am not clean. My husband is not neat.

I have no problem going 2-3 months without cleaning my shower. My husband has no problem throwing pillows and clothes and whatever else on the floor and letting it lie.

The optimist would conclude that our house would be immaculate- best of both worlds, no? But the realist that lives in my house knows that our natural tendencies lead to nothing but friction.

I estimate that 90% of all arguments with my husband are about cleaning. And they can get vicious.

When I started taking anti-anxiety medication two years ago, I realized that I was a lot happier when I wasn't harping on my husband to close the hamper lid properly and just chose to do those things for him, myself. This has actually resulted in a lot of peace, I would think on both of our ends.

The problem is that my husband cannot come to terms with my reluctance to and extended delays in cleaning. Due to personal preference and pervasive allergies, he wants the house cleaned much more often than I do. Also, things that don't bother me around the house (or that I don't even notice) are a big bother to him.

Even though I don't care about cleaning to the extent that he does, he expects me to clean my share of stuff when he feels that things need a cleaning. I have attempted to be sympathetic to this over the years, and I swear, I make efforts to clean, I really do. It's just that these efforts fall far short of what he wants.

Our weekends often devolve into this hell where he is constantly pissed off that the house is not as clean as he wants and/or I haven't cleaned what he wants. And where I am distressed / feeling guilty/ feeling hurt that he continues to expect me to do the things that are important to him while not acknowledging all of the things that I do that are important to me.

I cook dinner 90% of the time. I pick up around the house. I do most of the laundry. And why does it have to be a pissing contest, anyway? Why can't we just fucking get along?

I have suggested hiring a cleaning service to come in once a month. I think this is a great solution. Although I can't hire someone to exercise, sleep, or write my manuscripts for me, I can hire someone to clean my house. The problem is that my husband thinks it's fucking absurd that we/I cannot manage to keep our house clean and that we would even consider spending money on such a ridiculous thing.

I think that given how frequent and hurtful our fights are about cleaning, it would be money very well spent.

The point of this post is to poll my fellow dual-careered coupled friends out there. How do you and your partner handle cleaning duties? Do any of your have any suggestions as to how to remedy/soften this problem?

p.s. Please don't suggest that I just suck it up and do more cleaning. I have tried this, and it does not work/is not adequate. I would simply rather lick the bathroom floor clean with my own tongue than fill up a bucket with water and cleaning solution, get down on my hands and knees and rub the floor with a  wet rag.

29 responses so far

The Candid Scouting Report

Aug 02 2010 Published by under [Etc]

"These new digs are tight!" said scientist-engineer Candid Engineer -- who's always saying something -- as she executed squats and lunges in an attempt to warm up her pipetting ligaments this past weekend in the clubhouse of Scientopia's Community Field.

As the blogging trade deadline loomed at Monday morning 6 am EST, Candid Engineer was eager to show off her varied skillz to the scouts that had gathered at the Scientopia training facility in Tampa, FL. And boy, did she put on a pipetting clinic.

CE’s hands and good looks are not the only attributes that make this blogger such a force.  Her liquid dispensing placement is incredible, and together with her ability to switch-pipet on short notice, she can make 24-well plates pay if they are even one centimeter out of position.  Based on her pipetting skills alone, passing on Candid Engineer so close to the trade deadline would be have been a tough decision.

There are only a couple of issues with Candid Engineer’s play.  One is the defensive component of her reagent handling, particularly when she is being audibly assaulted by loud-mouth labmates. A defensive game can be taught and learned, however, and as long as she is not a constant liability at her home bench, it is a characteristic that will fly under the radar.

Scientopia G.M.s Scicurious and MarkCC insist that they traded for Candid Engineer's pipet (she has averaged 100k aliquots in her first 2 seasons with Blogger), not her disposition -- but the latter has been a welcome addition. "Aw, she's the shizzle," MarkCC says. "It's nice to have that come our way, because we're a funky group in there. We can be less-than-candid sometimes, and we need some shaking up. We think CE could potentially be the gal to do it."

At a mere 5 feet 5 inches, some are questioning what exactly Candid Engineer is going to be able to bring to the Scientopia scene. "You know, she might be able to perform serial dilutions with great accuracy, but we're concerned over here about how her vertical dimensions may inhibit her pipetting velocity," said DrugMonkey. "But then again, the endurance may be there. We're just going to have to take a wait and see approach."

The gamble may very well pay off for Scientopia, who acquired Candid Engineer from Blogger without having to trade anything in return. "We couldn't wait to get rid of her," said an official from Blogger, on the condition of anonymity. "Frankly, she's gotten so damn serious over the course of the past year. All she lives and breathes is pipetting anymore. Where is that spunk? Where is the vigor that she used to throw around the laboratory?"

For the time being, Scientopia reports being cautiously optimistic in regards to its low-profile acquisition. According to Scientopia spokeswoman Pascale Lane, "we fully anticipate that with a combination of flexibility training, a diet high in antioxidants, and personality coaching, we'll be able to enjoy the fruits of our Candid Trade for many years to come".

And so, for today, she pipets. Small volumes and large, she acts like nothing has changed, and she goes about her business.

12 responses so far

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