Phase two of The Plan is underway: we’re both in full-time, reasonably paying temp jobs, and starting Friday, both of them will be during daytime hours. For the last five days we’ve been passing each other in the night and communicating via a family notebook. The only major mishap was a missed puppy feeding (they survived). But we’re glad it’s ending when Attic Man starts his more pleasant office position. He’s a little tired of shuffling envelopes from one place to another. Now that I think of it, though, office work is nothing more than shuffling stacks of paper from one place to another. At least now he’ll get to sit while he does it and there may even be a water cooler.
The first few days of my temp job were a bit rough, given that I’m much more accustomed to lounging on the couch convincing myself that the baby wants bon-bons. But today I discovered the secret to surviving the file room at Big Investment Company: manipulate the environment to your advantage. First, I took over a big project and figured out how to organize it into steps. Then, when two new temps arrived, I grabbed the most pleasant one and asked if she’d like to help me with it. Third, I asked if we could have the desk at the back of the file room, and made sure that the only place it could possibly go was away from the less pleasant and/or gossipy temps and the annoying morning radio show they like. Mission accomplished. Pleasant Temp and I have plenty to talk about: she’s pregnant with her first and due two days before me; she was an English major in college; we both bake. Mostly she’s just easy-going and is way better at the detail stuff than I am. So when I ask her a detail question about the system I came up with (and she helped refine) she doesn’t look at me like I’m hopelessly incompetent. She just answers the question and we discuss how bananas keep the charlie horses away.
I’m anxiously awaiting Phase Two, in which Attic Man lands a real job and I return to dissertation work. In the meantime, we like having an income. The first few weeks here were really hard and I’m glad to getting paychecks. It’s coming together, just a lot more slowly than I would have liked.
Also, if you’ve written me an email lately and you haven’t heard back, it may be that I wrote you a very long, eloquent, heartfelt response that I could never produce again and that I lost my internet connection in transit. So, if you’re A, I mainly said “whew!” about your thing and “hang in there, it’s going to be alright” about that other thing and told you we are doing alright and that I just finished reading another novel.
The other thing I’m enjoying here that I just thought of are the kids next door. We have a blended family with four kids under 6 next door and they are too cute. They love the dogs and the dogs love them. They come in all their platinum blondeness (what IS it with all the blondes here?) to talk to the puppies through the fence. I suspect they also come for my cookies. Whatever the case, it’s nice having reasonably pleasant children instead of budding criminals for neighbors. The other day we noticed a group of boys overturning wooden parking barriers and thought, “oh great, here come the hoodlums.” Then we noticed their buckets and the careful way they were bending down to peer at the space they had uncovered, and realized they were collecting bait for fishing.
We’re becoming Iowans.