Breathe a sigh of relief, folks: I shall spare you the photo of dog poop!
I try hard to find the beauty in my surroundings—the sunsets, the wildflowers, the birds, the pretty buildings and brick paths on campus—but some days, all I can see is the dog poop. In my neighborhood, many people have dogs, and many of these people do not clean up after their dogs. This is disgusting. And it’s not just a problem in my Texas neighborhood. It was a big problem in my Evanston neighborhood too, and I hated it just as much then. This week, the melancholy grey skies, frequent rain, and my dwindling patience mean that all I can see is the dog poop, around my neighborhood and metaphorically.
There’s no one thing that’s really driving me up the wall. It’s a combination of little things. I haven’t been able to really move anything forward at work this week for two reasons, both of which are actually good things when viewed through a bigger lens. The first is that I’ve come to the end of a few experiments, one with good (publishable!) results and one with useful results. I am now prepping for new experiments, but I feel very impatient for more data. The second is that I’ve been waiting to meet with my boss about our grant, which I finished revising almost two weeks ago. I wrote to Matt this week, “It’s hard to remember sometimes that your top priority may be someone else’s seventh or eighth item on a long to-do list.”
I should be pleased that I am on top of things at work, that things are getting done, but again: dog poop. All I’m seeing is what needs to be done and what’s not happening right now.
On top of that, I’ve been missing Matt a lot this month. I haven’t seen him since our San Antonio trip back in November, and if it hadn’t been for my grant deadline, we may have scheduled an earlier visit. But he’s visiting me in about a week, and I will be so happy to see him. Most of the time I feel fine about the logistics of our relationship, but sometimes there is too much time between visits and I get really sad and frustrated by the distance. It seems like we saw each other more regularly when we were hundreds of miles apart. The demands of my postdoc work have taken their toll on our schedule, even though we are so much closer, geographically, than we were when I was in graduate school.
It hasn’t been all bad this week. There’s been a really delicious batch of lentil and rice soup, and I baked cookies last night. It’s been raining a lot, which is good, because we’ve been in drought conditions for a long time down here. And this morning, I waffled on whether to ride my bike to work. I decided to go for it, thinking the ride would lift my funky mood. I was so right: the sun peeped out from between the clouds and my legs felt strong and well-rested as they pedaled me forward. Forward motion! Sometimes it is, quite literally, exactly what I need.
And in response to my impatience, I’ve decided to take charge of what I can get done. This morning, I called my leasing office to request a repair, and I e-mailed my boss to ask for a meeting. At home, I’ve decided to organize and clean in anticipation of Matt’s visit (and for my own peace of mind). I’m also looking forward to buying the last part of his Christmas present, and I’m very proud of myself that I haven’t dropped any spoilers to him about his other presents. (It’s very difficult, as I am very excited about his presents.)
These may be dog poop days, but at least they won’t last forever.