It always feels good to get back home, even if it’s just home from work, but this morning, I’m especially grateful to be here.
Yesterday we wrapped up a two-day, 1,000+ mile drive from the house where I grew up to the apartment we currently call home. We collected Lissy Lou from her grandparents and brought her home. We’re somewhat unpacked, settling back in, and I go back to work Wednesday morning. Dallas is still applying for jobs, and I’m hoping that the tiny technicality of him having his PhD in hand will make a difference. Our lease is up two months from today, and I really don’t want for us to have to move back in with my in-laws until we have an idea of what we’re doing and where we’ll be, because obviously there’s no point in signing another lease when we could end up moving shortly afterwards anyway.
Dallas graduated a week ago yesterday. I have to admit my eyes got a little teary when he shook the university president’s hand and was presented to the auditorium for the first time as Dr. Michelbacher. It’s pretty incredible that he went from having a bachelor’s degree to having a PhD in five years, especially given that his advisor told us after graduation that the typical humanities PhD, if he or she finishes the degree at all, takes over nine years to complete their work. I think it’s even more incredible when you consider that Dallas was preparing to graduate from high school this time eight years ago. Even after four and a half years together, sometimes I still can’t believe how intelligent and hardworking my husband is.
He has had to work extremely hard against a ton of factors, many of which were outside his control. He spent way more time than he should have his first year of grad school trying to handle a bunch of drama, total bullshit, and frankly, emotional abuse from someone back here in Warner Robins while he was up in Michigan teaching, researching, grading, writing, and generally getting stuff done. He was theoretically supposed to have gone to Germany his second year, but chose to flip his second and third years around to give himself more time to make arrangements to study the language. That meant he went off to his third year in the strange position of having passed all his comprehensive exams for his PhD candidacy without completing his master’s degree first. In addition, I really don’t know that we would’ve stayed together if he hadn’t switched those years around in his degree program, because we’d only been together for six months when he made the decision to put off going abroad for a year. Obviously things worked out, though. Then he ended up with his fellowship, lots of networking opportunities, a lot of chances to travel, and the ability to contribute to a couple of big projects in his field over the last couple years of his degree program. He hasn’t let health issues (his or mine), research difficulties, or other people get in his way. And now he’s done it–he’s graduated, and I couldn’t be more proud of everything he’s accomplished over the last few years.
So yes, we’re back home now, and we’re trying to figure out the next step. Dallas’ grad advisor suggested he start shopping his dissertation around to various university presses this summer, so that and continuing to apply for jobs will be his major priorities these next couple of months. I’ll be working every hour I can pick up and am slowly trying to pare down some of the clutter in our apartment. I have a lot of clothes that I will honestly probably never be able to wear again (thanks, antidepressants!), so I need to suck it up and sort those out to donate. I’m starting to collect boxes so we can begin packing things we’re not currently using well before our lease is actually up; I suppose if we don’t have someplace else to move to by early July we’ll need to get a storage unit because we have kind of a lot of furniture. I’m just hoping it won’t come to that.