27 and a PhD

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Monthly Archives: September 2012

Updates and links

I keep having a hard time coming up with original content to write every week. Partly, it’s due to the fact that the semester has started, we’re teaching a course and there’s a lot of organization and planning to do. In addition, because we’re still a user-driven facility, we get requests to do set up experiments and equipment all the time. I’ve become the go-to person in the lab in terms of knowing where everything is, asking for quotes, helping to process data that only my immediate supervisor and I know how to process. While it is all good, it’s a lot of work. I’m barely thinking about academia these days. But I’ve kept writing here and there and now I’m sharing those links, in case you’re interested. As you may have noticed I’m also not tweeting as often, this is part of the whole “not having a clue” about what to write. I feel like I’m out of ideas, and/or fresh content. I find it sad. I wish I could talk in more detail about what is it that I do and what my job entails … but I’m just not ready to say who I am to the whole world. Anyway, here are some links of some of the other places I contribute to. Enjoy!

My reasons to move elsewhere in academia – over at Bio Careers

Little things I wish I’d known in grad school parts 1, 2 and 3 – over at 1DegreeBio

Enough is enough with the stupid “restocking” fee – a Guest Post

Normally, all the entries that appear on the blog are written by me. I usually have a few ideas in my brain every week and throughout it I pick the one(s) that I feel are more pressing and write about that. But today, I’m featuring the awesome Mr. 27 and a PhD (also known as honey). A few weeks ago, Mr. Honey’s laptop died. Since then he’s been looking for a new one. He set his sights on one, bought is, but it came defective and had to return it. Hon’s mom noticed his computer was at a local outlet and then he went and purchased it there. Again, the computer started showing up some problems, after which he returned it. The first computer he bought, he sent back and was not slammed with this stupid thing known as restocking fee (yet another way of companies passing the costs out to consumers when products are defective out of the box). Hon mentions the companies by name, and you can read more about the details in the post. Suffice it to say that, like my experience with United, hon is none too pleased with the “service” from the brick-and-mortar store. Here’s the story:

I´d like to tell you a little story. Three weeks ago, I bought a computer through Amazon.com. Unfortunately, when I received the computer, it turned out to be defective. I returned it to Amazon and they refunded my money, no questions asked. One week later, I went to our local Office Max and I bought the same computer for more money, but I figured it was better in case I had any problems with the computer. Boy was I wrong!
 
The computer had problems too. Apparently, it´s a shitty computer. It crashed twice in less than two weeks. The first time, it turned itself off and would not turn on for ~10 minutes. The next time, today, it turned off and began a sort of loop where it would turn off and turn on by itself until, finally, it did a system restart and that seemed to make things better. Of course, I can´t keep a new computer that crashed twice like this in less than two weeks. I took it to your store and, predictably, the computer was working fine so one of your store managers told me that they can offer me the same computer (hell no! twice is enough for that piece of crap) or he can refund my money minus 15% of a restocking fee. Basically, the ¨liars¨ fee.  Because that´s what they treated me like (not to mention, they made me feel like a moron for inquiring as to what is the basis for this restocking fee). Like I told the young man at this store, when you have a baby that´s epileptic, you usually take him to the hospital after the convulsion has passed. Does that mean it didn´t happen? Or that there´s nothing wrong with the baby? No, it just means that you can´t see it. Well, the young man (you would be proud) stuck to his ¨store policy¨ and refused to issue me a full refund. He kept 91 dollars just for his ¨troubles¨.  As I was leaving, I told him, ¨enjoy those 91 dollars, because I´ll never buy anything else from you¨.
 
Of course, I still needed a new computer. Alas, which company do you think I chose for the replacement computer? One hint: It wasn´t your company.
 
Amazon also has a 15% restocking fee policy. But they were smart enough to choose a client over a few bucks. They gave me a full refund and now I´ve rewarded that flexibility by buying another computer from them. And you know what? I go through computers very fast, so I´ll probably need another one in a few years, and guess where I´ll go? Same hint as before.
 
Perhaps you´re not aware, but we´re not in good times right now. Blockbuster, Borders Books, and many other chains have filed for bankruptcy and have had to liquidate all their assets. Do you really think it´s wise to alienate those who still buy from you? Well, I hope you enjoy those 91 dollars. You paid a hell of a price for them.

Our anniversary

This month, honey and I celebrate our 7th year together. And in case you’re wondering, honey is a boy (man … he’s my manfriend 😀 ).

7 years ago I had no idea where we’d be. We started dating after knowing each other for 6 years. We attended the same college, had many friends in common, parallel lives in several senses. Then we went to grad school, and one night, out of the blue, I called to say high. This was in June of 2005. We’ve spoken almost every night since then. Though we’ve had big fights, arguments and disagreements, we’ve never broken up.

Honey is my best friend. We understand each other, and even when we’re apart, like now, sometimes we’re still very much synchronized. I think we have a very good connection, one not forged by magical thinking, but by lots of work, communication and understanding.

For our anniversary we’re going out of state for a weekend of exploring and enjoying, much like we’ve done in the past, much like we did when we lived together.

My heart breaks every time something happens and I can’t be with him because of my job and being in NYC. I’ve started looking for work back in my hometown. I want to be close to my honey, to our families.

I’ve started to dream of the future, and of honey becoming Mr. 27 and a PhD. I dream of a little house, a dog and our cat, two steady jobs, our old decorations from our first place together in Canada, now all settled in our own little space at home. I hope this dream comes true soon.

We’ve been together for the duration of both of our PhDs. He attended my defense and was my only company for graduation. I couldn’t attend his graduation, but did attend his defense. I felt like I was defending myself.

I treasure every year, every trip, every visit, call, card and email. I still get giddy when we kiss and I look forward to his every text or DM. Technology has been good to us, even when life keeps us physically apart.

I can’t wait to have honey with me in the coming days. I love you my precious, my precious, handsome man. I hope we celebrate 7 x 7, and many more.

Kids

No, hon and I are not pregnant.

For a while I’ve been thinking about this post and what I want to say. This is by no means an absolute final decision, but it has been a process and I feel like writing it down and sharing it (and having it here, for the future).

I grew up in a very roman catholic household. My mom is a very devoted person, and I admire her for that. Her faith is deep and her commitment is sincere. She’s the best mom one could wish for, always sweet and cheery when we talk, especially cheery when we talk about my nephew, her first grandson.

Years ago, while I was still in grad school, my mom and I were having a conversation about kids, and I can’t remember what exactly brought up the discussion, but she ended up sharing how unhappy she’s been in her marriage to my dad and how, had she known how her life turned out to be, she would have worked all her life, retire early and travel all over the world. I asked her if she regretted having kids, to which she said she loved my sister and I more than her own life, yet, if she could do things differently, she would stay single and just travel.

I didn’t feel sad when my mom admitted this, instead, I took it as food for thought and started thinking about whether I wanted to have kids myself. I love to travel (even when I have to resort to using flying deathtraps to move from one place to the next), I love focusing on me and on my honey, spending time with my family, and taking off when I want, and not have a care in the world (except that I need to leave a clean litterbox and full food and water dispensers for kitty).

For a long time honey has been mentioning how much people in general annoy him … or really, interacting with them. He doesn’t like making calls (I always ordered take out for us and he was more than happy to pick food up, an arrangement I totally love), talking to strangers, people encroaching in his space (one time he had this woman in a bus touch his hair just ’cause … WTF?). I on the other hand like to interact with people, I’m very sociable, but sometimes I can be shy (yeah, I know, hard to believe, eh?) I prefer to be a hermit and stay indoors with him (when he’s visiting or when we lived together).

One thing where we’re both of the similar school of thought is that we find some kids annoying (him more than me, but yes, I do find some kids annoying, the boisterous ones, screaming children at stores, kids who are older yet refuse to cover when coughing or sneezing (adults too)). This from a person who liked to babysit 4 kids at once!

We’ve talked about kids, Mr. Honey and I, and we’re sort of leaning towards adopting, should we ever have some need for having offspring. It’s an idea we’re totally happy with. I’ve always been crazy scared of giving birth, both naturally and by c-section. I’m afraid of epidurals and the same with episiotomies. I’m scared of what a kid will to do my body and hormones (as it is they’re always in some crazy state). I have severe PMS, which makes me worry about not being able to take my medicine for a long time, and even more scared of PPD. I’m afraid of a kid encroaching in our space, and what genetic defects he/she may have because of my age. So many fears and worries.

I grew up with everyone and their cousin telling me that I should be a mom, that besides a decent job and a healthy marriage, I should have a kid, or better yet, two or three. But at the same time I saw their marriages crumbling, their lack of care for the kids, and in some cases, resentment. And early on I figured that just because someone was biologically equipped to be a parent, that didn’t necessarily translate into being a good parent. On one side my church was telling me that I should be like Mother Mary, on the other, I didn’t feel a nagging sensation to not be like her.

Though my mind is not completely made up, I’m leaning towards postponing motherhood/parenthood until later, especially given our interest in adopting and being on the same page. At the same time I struggle explaining and defending my position to (possibly) avoid biological children to family and friends (though hon’s mom seems to be on board, as long we we do it sooner rather than later so she gets to enjoy a granddaughter (we’re all on board with this) now and not 20 years from now.

What’s even weirder is that I’m totally on board with surrogacy. How weird is it that I’d be OK carrying someone else’s child and not my own?

So, for now, no kids for us, thank you. But if we do it, it will most likely involve adopting. After all, with so many children suffering abuse and neglect we feel like giving that child a happy home, on our own terms, and age. What are your thoughts?