Tag Archives: The Husband

Not Dead

Just a public service announcement:  I am not dead.  The past week I have been sock-knitting (turned my first heel!  and it still looks like a sock!), riding other people’s horses and falconry-ing.  I’ve upped my number of volunteer days with the hope that in a couple months a job might come out of this if I make myself useful enough.  As a result, I’m learning new and unexpected things.

Such as:

– I can feed The Grumpiest Eagle Owl without losing fingers.

– I can make jesses and anklets out of a mere sheet of leather.

– I know what a creance is, and how to wind it back up properly.

– I can now butcher both quail and rabbit, at least for avian consumption.

The last was something I hadn’t really known how I’d feel about, as a self-confessed animal lover.  Gutting and dismembering little feathered/fluffy things?  I thought I’d be too sad and a bit queasy.  Turns out I’m not.

I’ve realised that my time spent with the birds of prey has given me a somewhat raptorial outlook in life.  I no longer avert my gaze from roadkill, for one.  Not only am I not squeamish anymore, but I’m also less sentimental about things dying.  I appreciate the cycle of life better; one thing dies so another thing might live.

But, back to the topic at hand,  I’m not dead.  I’ve just not been writing lately, what with being busy, and thus feel like I don’t have much to say here.  Hopefully this will change.

And now I’m off to watch The Husband give a talk about religion and politics.  He’s freaking out a little, but he’s a big smarty-pants so it’ll be fabulous.

“Home” – It’s Where the Boobs Are, and A Return to Normal Service

Many apologies for my absence – after a long weekend with the in-laws, followed by my second day as a volunteer falconer, I can now say that normal service will be resuming!  I’m afraid I haven’t had time to work on The Adventurous Time Adventures, or anything else for that matter, but I should be posting more of that in due time as well.

So onto today’s topic:  Where is “home”?

The Husband and I were talking last night about him being an adult yet craving the childhood home.  He feels a sense of loss when we get back to our own flat after spending time there.  Is it bad that, for all I adore my in-laws, I feel nothing but relief?

I think it all has to do with what “home” is to each person.  To The Husband, home is still where his parents and brother are.  To me, home is wherever my belongings happen to be residing for the moment.  I have a hard time functioning in other spaces.

Don’t get me wrong – that could sound terribly materialistic, and maybe it is.  But it’s merely linked to my experiences of constant transatlantic journeying, and how I’ve been forced to reevaluate and reprioritise my life to fit into two suitcases for the past 6 years.  So when I begin to settle myself down somewhere, and have unpacked said suitcases, that place is immediately termed “home” in my mind.

This has some consequences.  Mainly that I hate to be relocated again once settled.  Moving is such a pain, it’s a universal fact, but even just packing an overnight bag can be an ordeal to me.  I can always be counted on to forget some random thing that becomes The Most Important Thing Ever and because  it’s not with me I get sad.  It reminds me, on a smaller scale, of how I have had to leave so much behind whenever I’ve moved countries.

I’ve done that a lot, especially when I was moving back to the US every summer while at university.  Because I had to once again fit my life into the two suitcases I’d arrived in, things were inevitably left behind.  Some left with flatmates and friends who mostly returned them, and others ultimately thrown out/given to charity shops.

I still have moments when I go, “Oh what happened to that skirt?  I loved that skirt, I want to wear it today – Oh crap I gave that away.  Damn!”  And then I feel ridiculously sad out of all proportion to the issue of a mere skirt.

So home is where my crap is.

But actually, this isn’t entirely it either.  We lived at the in-laws for a couple of months before finding our own place, and while it was homey it still wasn’t our home – to me, at least.  As a couple, I feel like our home has to be our own space where we can start our own lives.  It can’t be shared by any others apart from future pitter-patterings of tiny baby feet.  So there’s that aspect of “home” as it pertains to our current phase in life as well.

However, a friend and I have a saying:  Home is Where the Boobs Are.

And it’s true.  For all that I’ve placed undue importance on my belongings it’s really my self, my person, my thoughts, my boobs, that make me me.  And ultimately that’s the mark of home.  Home is where you are, with your boobs, and you decide it’s your home.

And my boobs are here right now.  This is Home.

Being Young, Smart and Unemployed: A rant against the current state of things

I’ve decided to take a break from the silliness that is The Adventurous Time Adventures of Doctor When and talk about something else for a moment.  This is something that’s been on my mind a lot lately, so I thought I might as well just get it out.  It is:

Being unemployed.

As I’m sure most of you are already aware, or could easily ascertain by my posting habits, I’m unemployed.  Have been since July, in fact.  “Oh how nice for you, like an extended holiday!” someone might say – well that someone has obviously never been long-term unemployed.  It most certainly is nothing like an extended holiday.

Maybe for the first couple of weeks it feels delightful, and you can sleep until whenever you want and go shopping during the day or just sit around – but then the months drag on, and it gets harder and harder to motivate oneself to even get out of bed at all.  I mean why would you?  There’s obviously nothing for you to do.

So you start getting up later and later, feeling at once guiltier and more helpless about the situation unfolding itself before you.  But you can’t help it, your body betrays you with unwarranted exhaustion (how can you be tired? you do nothing all day long!).  And the days begin to blur together, and nothing separates one from the other apart from the changes of weather and what’s on the television.  You begin to lose track of days of the week, or when the weekends fall.  Trips out to the grocery store become the only highlight of an otherwise uneventful day, and this time of year you find it hard to even work up the motivation to do that before the sun begins to set, when darkness will dampen all your hard-fought enthusiasm.

And yet.

If it weren’t for a select assortment of variables I think I would have easily given into all that, would have become the sort of person that sleeps until noon, only to drag myself over to the sofa to watch Jeremy Kyle in a stupor until hunger forced me to go boil the kettle and eat another Pot Noodle.

These variables are as follows:

1) The Husband.  I’m nothing if not a lazy, self-destructive, angst-ridden overgrown teenager if left to my own devices.  And so is he!  Ha!  However, together we’re confronted by those aspects of ourselves and it makes us want to be better than that.  This is why we work so well as a couple – we’re identical in some of our faults, but also equally stubborn about allowing ourselves to be overcome by them.

Plus we can call each other out on those very faults when one or the other is giving in to them.  But we both hate being told what to do/not do, so that’s not always helpful!  Regardless, we’re a good team.  And The Husband is generally better at being motivated than I am, and does stuff like sets the alarm for 8 am (which we often ignore until closer to 9 but hey, at least we’re trying) and goes out running even through the snow and does the dishes when they overwhelm me (which is a lot of the time, let’s face it).

He is the #1 variable in my list of “things that make my life pretty damned good”, because let’s face it – we’re young newlyweds in love.  It can’t be all that crap, and truthfully it isn’t.  It’s merely frustrating at times.

Anyways, onto:

2) We live in a lovely little village in Fife.  The last time poverty threatened to overcome us, we lived in the poor, downtrodden town of Lynn, just north of Boston.  So we’re able to say from experience that it makes a huge difference where you live when times get tough.  Here, we can take our minds off our problems by taking long walks and seeing beautiful country vistas.  The people are friendly, often walking with boisterous dogs who come over to say hello, and it feels like a true community.  Unlike Lynn, where we felt like interlopers in our Russian-dominated apartment building, where we didn’t stray out late at night for fear of violence and the anti-social behaviour rampant in our neighbourhood.

But this variable wouldn’t have been possible without:

3) Edna the tiny purple car.  Edna was the best investment we made in our life here, which The Husband bought for a mere £500 (best gift ever!) and despite her age runs amazingly well.  Without her we wouldn’t be able to live in a small rural community, for the need of such things as buying groceries, nor enjoy the lovely drives through to neighbouring towns.


4) The internet.  It’s easy enough to lose contact with people who all live at least an hour or so away by car (or at most 7 hours by plane!) but without the internet I’d never get to do so at all.  Nor share all my nonsense with the world, as I do in this blog!  Being unemployed is a lonely business, so connectivity becomes priceless.  Especially in the job search, as most things are posted online.

So those are the variables keeping us from turning into the stereotypical unemployed loser, for which I’m entirely grateful.  And after my next visa arrives I can pursue jobs with the same gusto as The Husband’s tireless efforts.

It’s ridiculous that someone as smart and amazing as The Husband (and honestly, this isn’t me being biased – he’s actually just awesome) with his two degrees can’t get employed within six months.  And don’t think that he’s feeling too good for general labour because of said degrees; he’s applied to call centre jobs, a position on an oil rig (!), working at a local convenience store, and pretty much every major bank in the area offering an entry-level position.

Nothing.  He got one interview for a call centre job, but the competition was something like 50 people applying per position so he didn’t get it.

This is the current state of things (against which I’m ranting): that of the plight of the young, smart and unemployed.  If one of us gets a job soon it’ll likely be more out of luck than anything else, because we’re both at the bottom of any prospective employer’s list in terms of employable skills, qualifications and previous experience in this current climate.  The sheer numbers of better qualified applicants, many recently laid off from long-term positions, put us there – where in a different economic situation we’d be considered pretty damned awesome applicants, the bright future of this country.

And that’s just shit.

We are pretty damned awesome.  And we shouldn’t be in this situation, forced into poverty and unemployment by circumstances beyond our control.  When we went into undergrad we went with a couple of expectations in return for the degrees we hoped to obtain: 1) the essential bettering of ourselves, which we certainly got, but also, 2) that after the hard work and money spent on our education (quite a lot in my case, as an international student) we would end our time with a higher qualification to recommend ourselves into gainful employment.

That’s what we were promised and the real world, with all its financial fucked-uppery, has failed to uphold that second half of the bargain.