16 November 2010

Stockholm-induced single parent stint

dave was stockholm-bound for a job interview, which meant i was staying behind in single parent-land.

so, as you know, dave and i left home for his post-doc appointment. it took us to france for a short while and it brought us here, to halifax. he also has two more years of secured funding to work on this current project, but he is also looking for permanent professorships. before X was born, he had applied to this job in sweden (in late march). it was a hefty application (like 40 pages) and a serious and lengthy application review process. he got an email in late may that he had made the short list (of 13 people), and then in mid-october he got an email saying he was in the top three and was being granted an interview. the interview was taking place on november 15.

he was only going to be gone for 3 days this time and i had my confidence boosted from my moms recent visit so i wasnt too worried to be on my own with X for that time period. unfortunately, the two days before dave left were super busy for him since his boss from france was in town and he was meeting with him for some intense, work-packed cram sessions, so i was alone a lot before dave left as well.

the whirlwind continued right up to the last few hours before dave left. we attended a pizza party at his halifax boss' house and came home in time for dave to pack and leave in his taxi to the airport. he had a flight to london and then a flight to stockholm, the interview on monday, and then a long day of travel back to us on tuesday (stockholm-copenhagen-toronto-halifax).

so, what did we do while dave was gone?

first, since dave normally does the cooking, i realized i had to think of something ahead of time or else i would be eating cereal for every meal. thankfully janes next door sells wonderful homemade frozen dinners in single serving sizes. i got their madras chicken and thai green curry chicken dishes. i figured i could walk down the block to one of our nearby asian restaurants and get hot rice for cheap, so didnt have to worry about that part of the meal either.

and here is how our days played out:

sunday - hung out with some babies in dartmouth at emilys house until X needed her first nap. after the nap we made it to the halifax farmers market to piece together a lunch for me. i got a veggie tamale and a few other things. then we hung out in the childrens section of our library and watched all the big kids play. and after Xs last nap of the day we ran over to st marys university library so i could check out a book for work. and then it was dark and time for dinner and bedtime routines. survived day one!

monday - went to the grocery store and on the way home i stopped at the little playground nearby and put X in the swing set. she seemed to really enjoy it. i also put her on the slide, but that didnt seem as fun as flying through the air on the swing. then, after Xs nap we walked up to my work to drop off the book and say hello to my boss and others. and that is where our ambitious day ended. haha, but at least we survived day two.

tuesday - i saw dave made it safely to copenhagen but had a major (2+ hour) delay trying to get out of there to toronto. so, to take my mind off of that, i made a play date at a new library for us. we hung out for a while chatting with a random mom who was there before Xs play buddy arrived. then, after a nap, we went to the grocery to get pre-made stuffed pork chops for dinner (just pop them in the oven!). the rest of the day went slowly as i watched daves flight status info, and i must have made X anxious because she would not go to sleep at night. she waited up 1.5 hours past her bedtime until i confirmed on halifaxs airport website that his flight had landed. i kid you not, she then promptly went to bed.

and, just like that, dave was home again. poor guy had survived 4+ weeks of work related stress, a conference in denver, a work cram session with his halifax and france bosses, weeks of prep on the (2) talks he gave at his stockholm interview, a whirlwind 3 day trip to sweden for the interview, and 24 hours of travel to get back home to us. and he basically did it all with a smile on his face. such a good guy. we appreciate all he does (and endures) for us. :) love you.

lessons learned while dave was gone:
nap time is seriously important "get work done" time, but its a balance. you cant run around like crazy, you always have to make sure there is extra energy in your tank to take care of the kiddo when s/he wakes up, but there are just certain things that need to get done on a daily basis. i was constantly thinking about what i could and needed to get done for every nap while X was awake so that as soon as she was out i could zip around efficiently and take care of it all quickly and still find time to sit down and relax/rest.

another thing, she can only sit and play by herself for so long, so if i needed to do something while she was awake that i couldnt do with her in my arms, i needed to plan out my movements to maximize efficiency before she started getting annoyed. this mostly pertained to getting food ready and trying to eat it. but, its also amazing how many things you can do with one hand.

i also didnt get too creative while i was playing with her, i guess that was related to not wanting to knock myself out being silly and crazy to entertain her and wind up exhausted before the end of the day. so, we just kinda did our regular routine and the things we needed to do, nothing fancy.

in the end, it was tiring, but i knew it was only for a few days so i stayed surprisingly upbeat about being a single parent. however, if it was a permanent situation, it would be VERY tough. i always assumed being a single parent was difficult, but i now have a new level of appreciation. im speechless. those who have to live it on a daily basis are amazing people.

**job results for those curious: neither dave nor the other person they interviewed were hired. the other guy had a poor interview and while it sounds like they loved dave in almost all aspects, the one hump they couldnt get over was his smaller than desirable publication list. since the job post was to hire someone in as tenured (not tenure track, but straight-up tenured), they had to be very selective and picky. follow-up with the decision makers was very positive for dave and they seemed to encourage him to apply again next year when they hope to repost a similar position. so thats good! and his publication "issue" is a relatively easy (ha! sorry dave, i know its not easy) fix. so, our daydreams of life in europe were put on hold...for now. darn it, because i had a great title for a new blog: "sweden, meat-ballsy americans" (or some other similar variant)**

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