Small things

In the majority of articles about dealing with the death of a dog focus on the small things like not interacting with people on walks, not having the morning routine, etc.  Also, there are the articles about missing the warmth of their body or their slobbery kisses.  My dog died recently and I’ve been reeling for a while.  Yes, I do miss all the things about him that the other articles talk about, but I miss the even smaller things.  When my brain tricks me into thinking I heard little paw-steps on the floor I dart my eyes and he’s not there.  When my A/C blows my blinds and it makes the rattle noise he used to make when going to the back door to let me know he needed to go to the bathroom I hurt.  Sometimes he would run crazily around the house looking for me and not realize that I was in the original room he was in; I was just being really quiet and readings.

He had the ability to make everyone happy.  When my parents passed away, when I had high stress, when I was depressed, he would lick up the tears, try to take the snot from my nose and tell me in his own way that it’s all going to be okay.  I miss all of that.  I feel like there’s a bigger hole now than any event I’ve ever had.

Why does everything have to have a balance?  Every time there’s something great there has to be something to balance it.  I understand that to truly appreciate the good you need the bad for perspective.  Fine, I get the philosophy.  But why does the bad have to be AS bad as the good was good.  Why can’t we ride highs with only some turbulence or just a slight downturn.  I fucking hate this.

Work is a distraction, but I’m certain my students know something is off.  They seem like they’re “kid-gloving” me.  I just really don’t know what to do.  And with some grant deadlines coming up I don’t think I have a choice….

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Motivation

I’m putting together the things I want to have done for my tenure package and for the summer.  Everyone has their own goals, and normally, I’m all about ensuring my students finish their goals, but this summer it’s about me.  I’m already starting to push the pretty hard; especially since I missed a few weeks.  This involves a few critical papers in some (relatively) high impact journals.  I want to get these fully accepted in the next two months, and that’s a tall order since the two students (my superstars) that I’m relying on have pretty full schedules.  So I’m basically pulling them off of helping with other projects that I’d like to get a grant submitted based upon, and a few conference submissions.

My time in industry helped me do project management.  Tight deadlines, getting the team rallied, and ‘wow’-ing management were my specialties.  I haven’t busted out a Ghant chart yet (I swear I will NEVER use Microsoft Project ever again), but I do have a calendar up with when we need critical data and specific parts written and submitted.  The days are getting a little more packed every day.  I can tell my students aren’t digging it either.  After all, in industry if people rallied they would get an extra bonus or a promotion.  When my students rally I buy them a pizza or have them over at my house for food and games.  Nothing compared to an extra $10k in their pocket.  Ultimately, this is to benefit me, and get a line on my student’s resumes.  All of whom want to go to industry, so won’t be needing a huge publication record.  So keeping them motivated is tough regardless of my master project management skills.

I’m trying to figure out what to do for this push, since it will be the craziest.  I think I’ll take them out of town.  Maybe get a huge Airbnb for them and their families.  But that’s the light at the end of the tunnel.  In the meantime I don’t want to order from Papa John’s, but there’s a few New York style pizza places, and Mexican and Sushi places up the street.  Time for some coffee and tacos to keep the home fires burning.