Sunday, September 27, 2009

Turning the tables

I admit it. I was spoiled in grad school and the first eight months of my postdoc. Paramed is a fantastic guy. Owing to his bizarre (even by academic science standards) work schedule, he always had a lot of free time during the week--sometimes too much free time that drove him a little crazy, but that's not really the point.

Because Paramed was only working two days a week and
I was working six, he took care of many of the domestic duties: laundry, cooking, cleaning, sometimes even grocery shopping. On a few occasions when I had to work really late, he would bring me dinner at work. While I was in the midst of preparing for my defense, I sent him off to a strange city, by himself, to find us a place to live.

Now the tables have turned. Paramed is still working his two days a week, but now he has class three days as well. So what "free" time he has is spent reading and studying. This is actually really great because we had agreed early in our marriage that once I was done with grad school, he would have his chance. Oddly, we seem to be spending more time together actually talking (as opposed to sitting in silence while staring at the TV): Paramed actually tells me about his days now. He's excited about what he's learning and shares it with me, which sometimes leads to heated philosophical discussions, something we've not engaged in on a regular basis for a while. And I get to tell him how what he's learning in class is applied in real-life research. Plus his college is just a few
blocks from where I work, so we walk together (both from and to home) on most of the days he has class, which gives us more time to talk.
Of course, this means he doesn't have the time to be the domestic king he once was--and it's my turn to take more responsibility. We are still trying to achieve equilibrium. Currently things are not ridiculously busy in the lab, and I've been able to leave the lab around the same time consistently. (I have a sneaking suspicion that this will change in the next few weeks, but I'll just have to figure out a way to make it work.) My evenings are now filled with meal prep and tutoring (which accounts for the recent sporadicity of my blog posts). To be honest, Saturdays have typically been work-in-the-lab and veg-out-at-home days, and I'm not quite ready to relinquish that. So Sundays are being filled with balancing the checkbook, paying bills, grocery
shopping, cleaning, planning, etc. This kind of sucks because when Monday rolls around, I feel like I've already put in a day's work, even though the week just started.

I'm glad to be able to do for Paramed what he did for me for the past few years. It's just a matter of establishing a new balance and not becoming overwhelmed by the immense changes in our lives now. Now back to calculating that equilibrium constant.