The Big Interview

on 15 January 2015

I'm sure that most of you have read this news on Facebook, but Chris had a big fancy interview at UNC's school of medicine. 

Let's review:

He came up with this crazy, hair-brained scheme to try for med school one last time, last June when we were effectively homeless.  He had applied for 6 different jobs in 3 different states, all of them out west, and I wanted to be anywhere but HERE for a variety of reasons, and so I was desperately hoping one of them would come through.  And one by one the rejections came in, and Chris had this series of serendipitous and very encouraging conversations with various physicians that he works with.  Which meant that one night he came back to the house where we were house-sitting and sat down on the bed beside me and told me that he wanted to retake the MCAT and reapply to med school.

I honestly couldn't decide if I was going to laugh or cry.  But I try to be a good wife, and I whole-heartedly admit that I am very good at that part of my job which is to see in him the very best of himself.  So the next day I ordered him some MCAT study books and set about taking the kids out of the house, or at least away from him every single morning so that he could study before going in to work that night.

We revised our house-hunt from "small house out in the country where M can have a big fat garden and some chickens" to "small townhouse no more than 20 minutes from UNC and no yard to take care of" since UNC was our school of choice.  I continued to try to protect his study time and I'm sure he would say that I nagged and quizzed him within an inch of his life, and in the meantime, we found our townhouse and I learned the hard way how to organize the requisite paperwork for a mortgage. 

Chris sat the MCAT at the beginning of September and I was so nervous for him that I felt sick the whole day.  THEN, because the administrators of the MCAT are cruel overlords, we had to wait a MONTH for the results to come back in.  They finally came back, he did ok on the biological sciences, the physical sciences could have used more study time, but he got a perfect score on the verbal reasoning section.  It was quite funny because everyone he told about the results was impressed by the verbal score, and he would hang his head and admit that he felt a lot of pressure to do well on that because if he hadn't, his wife would likely take all of his Fun Books and make him read nothing but Classics until he brought it up.  (And he was right.)

So then he began working on his applications, now, Med School applications are expensive because you have to apply in 2 phases.  They charge you an initial fee and then the individual school decides if they want to see more of you and then they charge you another fee for another application.  I was all in favor of JUST applying to UNC, but Chris was reluctant to put all of our eggs in 1 basket, so he put together a list of 5 schools and I told him that would be his entire Christmas so he should enjoy it.

Then he set to work on the secondary applications that came in.  Of the 5 schools he initially applied to, we did 4 secondaries.  Once those were in, we had nothing left to do but wait.  That was all right before Christmas, so by "nothing left to do" I mean just on the med school front because we still had Christmas to deal with, a leaky roof, and another human being to grow.

Of the 4 schools that we submitted secondary applications to, we got exactly ONE interview, and that was with UNC.  So all of our eggs ended up in one basket anyway.  (And I would just like to go on the record as saying that I was RIGHT and we could have saved a lot of money if he had just listened to me to begin with, but that could also sum up the last year of our life together.)  Chris got a call about mid-January from UNC to set up an interview and the kids and I danced and whooped around the basement while he set it up.  Chris couldn't decide if that was funny or sad that his family was so anxious to be rid of him.  I smiled and said it had nothing to do with being rid of him, but rather with his being HAPPY.

The end of January came and he headed to campus for his interviews.  May I just say, the hardest part about marriage isn't the living together, it isn't the finances or parenting or time or any of that.  The hardest part of marriage is that my life is so bound up with him, and I live and die by his successes or failures, and there's nothing much I can do about any of it.  Oh, if wishing made it so, I would have gone to that interview with him, sat quietly to one side and then told them in no uncertain terms that HE WOULD SUCCEED.  Because he is smart and hard working and awesome in ways that standardized tests don't measure.  And also because he has me and when he is tired and discouraged, I look at him and say, "well, we suck it up.  Let's get back to work.  We're scrappy, we can tough it out."  But I can't go with him.  So I took the kids to my parents' house and tried to hide from the stress.

He joined us once the interview was over and he was so happy, it was positively infectious.  He felt really good about it, he felt like he did his best to address any concerns they might have about him having been out of a classroom for so many years, or his MCAT scores, or having a family, or whatever.  So all we had left to do was wait.

They told him it could take up to 8 weeks to hear about acceptance or not, which I thought was cruel and unusual punishment (and said so).  But there was nothing else to do, so we waited.

In which I get Older...

on 09 January 2015

My own birthday was a quiet, creamy affair this year.

Since I have this policy of making my children MY favorite cake (my Mom's marble cake) for their birthdays, we had celebrated the Girl's birthday with my family and marble cake the week before my own birthday, so Chris and I felt at liberty to branch out a bit this year.

He gifted me with a new cookbook for Christmas that's entirely different kinds of Pie.  Since Pie is pretty much his favorite food on the planet, it was sort of a gift for himself, but we decided to go ahead and celebrate my birthday with a Pie extravaganza. 

I had this awful cold that pretty much everyone in my family had had at some point during the holidays, so it was hard to care about much.  Chris took me out for Thai food for lunch, we took the kids.  That wasn't very relaxing, nor did they enjoy it very much.  (They have no appreciation for good food, they'd just as soon eat chicken nuggets or hot dogs, and WHY when they could have Pad Thai, or tempura fish with chili sauce, is beyond me.)  Anyway, for dinner my folks joined us for a big pot of soup and our Festival of Pie.   We made 3 different kind:  butterscotch cream (a family favorite, and proper butterscotch where you burn and candy the sugar before hand), my Mom made me a chocolate pie, and then we tried a new one from the book:  Custard...oh my.  It was so good. 

I am moderately embarrassed to admit this, but the 4 of us ate 3 whole pies in 3 days.  A PIE a Day.  It was a really good weekend.

Since I was sick, I had no qualms whatsoever about spending the whole weekend in my nightgown and watching a long Lord of the Rings marathon.  Which, in hindsight, was maybe a little bit scary for the kids...but which was thoroughly enjoyable for Chris and I.

And I tried not to think about how many years I have lived on this planet.   This pregnancy has me feeling very, very old. 

3 Years with my Girl

on 03 January 2015

My darling daughter turned 3 this year.

I really wondered if we would survive her second year.  I also wondered if I would be sending her off to college still in diapers because she was...shall we say, RELUCTANT to potty train.  (She's far too busy to stop for the nonsense of using the toilet, especially when she's wearing a super absorbent, oh so soft, cloth diaper.)

Fortunately, we did survive her second year, and she did eventually see the value of using the toilet.  If you're wondering what did the trick, it was lollypops.  Turns out, she'll do anything in the world for a lollypop, which, if you're her mother, is really good to know.

Life with her continues to be hilariously funny, most of the time.  Her motto is still Go Big or Go HOME.  She either loves you or hates you.  Actually, that's not entirely true, she either loves your or doesn't have the time or energy to care about you at all.  She has her Nana and Popper absolutely wrapped around her little finger. And from what I witnessed at Thanksgiving, I suspect that she has her Mee-Maw and Aunt Jen-ji wrapped around the other little finger.  She totally charmed them in a matter of minutes, it was comical and endearing all at the same time.

In anticipation of her being a Big Sister, she's transitioned into a proper bed and a booster seat instead of a car seat.  It's still strange for me to see her looking so...well, Big.  She's a proper little girl, not a baby at all.

(My beloved laptop was dying a lingering death, and so we replaced her, but I don't have the software I used for my slideshows anymore, so here's a quick collection of my favorite pics from the last year with my Girl.)

(I'm still trying to figure out the new machine...I'm not sure I like it.)