I know, I know, I promised you that Eric and I would start doing joint posts months ago, and we haven’t done a single one. Sorry folks. Besides the fact that it has been a crazy-busy period in our lives, there’s another reason. We didn’t fully grasp the reality of this blogging together project. You see, it hadn’t fully registered on us that in order to do it, we would have to find time when both of us were a. wholly free of all children b. awake and c. not doing something else.
These circumstances aren’t really all that common in our lives, I fear. The way we manage on comparatively little money is that we have no paid childcare. Babysitting is something we get once or twice a month. The herd o’boys does go to bed by 7:30 or 8 most nights, which is awesome, but there’s usually a certain amount of frantic reduction of chaos that has to be done after they go to bed, and then by 9pm, well, if we are awake we encounter the all important question “hey, it is 9pm and we’re still conscious…should we get naked or write a blog post.” I hate to tell you, but the blog loses nearly every time.
The good news is that the Astrophysicist is planning on writing – he’s just waiting until the end of the semester, when the “possible moments in which we could do this” start expanding somewhat. But the really good news is this – the astrophysicist still has a job. In fact, he’s got one for not one, but two years. And can I just say “hallelujah!”
You see the Astrophysicist’s job does not pay much (he’s non-tenured faculty), but it does provide health care benefits that make our life possible, and since my job doesn’t pay much either, it provides a moderate quantity of very useful green things that we exchange for stuff like chicken feed and beer. Most of our other activities mean that we live pretty comfortably on a fairly small income (we would qualify for food stamps in the New England states). But while we once did fairly well as a family of four on 17k a year, I have no particular longing to go back there.
But even more important than the money is that the Astrophysicist loves his job. I don’t mean he likes it, I mean he adores it. I’ve never met any faculty member who thought that teaching a thousand plus students in a gen ed science class would be fun – but my husband loves doing it, and his students love him. You can tell this by the fact that he runs completely optional telescope sessions that are packed with undergrads who don’t have to be there. He’s also deeply excited about really developing the field of environmental physics so that it means something. And he loves that his job allows him to focus on teaching, which is his great love. And best of all he loves that where he works brings him into contact with a large body of first generation and low income college students, many of whom never liked or understood science until they took one of his classes. The size of the previously under-attended environmental physics class he took over has doubled since he adopted it.
The New York State economy and budget are not happy things. There have been ominous emails going around about not getting to happy or comfortable because budget cuts are coming. While the Astrophysicist’s department and superiors want to keep him, we worried that a blanket cut in non-tenured faculty would be coming. But we got the news yesterday – he’s in, and for two years. This is more job security than the vast majority of Americans get, and you cannot know how grateful I am. I know we are lucky, rather than deserving, and I wish that good fortunate could be spread more widely as well.
Had he lost his job, I would have had to make up most of the income lost – and I was seriously considering writing bodice rippers. The bad news is that the literary category of peak oil light porn will remain under-developed. The good news is that we can keep on keeping on, which is making us happy indeed.
And I promise, astrophys posts are coming! Just let him get through the term!