Well, I really do laugh in the general direction of normalcy. After all, "My kid's autistic...what's you're excuse?" (that quote from a really funny series of t-shirts my sister-in-law found).
But what I mean is this: I'm now officially one week into working full-time, and I actually didn't fall asleep at my desk even once! haha (after not having an 8-5 job for five years, I was a bit worried about making it through the day in one building. Well wait a sec. I suppose I did that most Saturdays for the past year as I wrung the first half of the dissertation out of me like trying to obtain water from a dry sponge, but for some reason a full-time post feels different). Things are coming together quite well. I spent these past few years as one of about 25 researchers, all with slightly different views of conducting research and sharing the results. All part of the academic process, I suppose, and the argumentation was "fun" in an odd sort of way. Now I've entered a division of practitioners whom I respect a great deal, but researchers they are not. Suddenly, that's "my" job to assess things and help them improve. I went from being one of many to being one of, like, TWO. Fortunately the other researcher type appears like he'll be a good colleague. He gave me a good reality check the other day. I suppose it will be a good change to be one of just a few instead of one of many. Suffice it to say the transition is going just fine. Almost feels like "normal."
The other part of finding normalcy is that I've finally started back in on the dissertation after about a month away for the move and finishing up the GAship. I communicated via e-mail with My Committee about where things stood prior to the move. DC provided some more advice on how to recruit more participants. Oh yeah: funny thing happened. I was hoping to interview between 8 and 12 participants. I was able to find 9 pretty easily. All but one showed up for the interviews, which was pleasantly surprising. After the initial rush of interviews I looked more closely at the demographic breakdown of my participants. Hello...SEVEN of the eight are men?? And I didn't notice this before because...? Ugh. If this were a study of men, I'd be set. But if I don't find more women participants, then I'll be chucked in the student development gender oppression trash can with the rest of the higher education theorists from the 60s and 70s. Not a good way to start off as a researcher, eh? So, my goal is to recruit about four or five more women who qualify for the study and are willing to talk to me about college for about an hour. Not an impossible task, right? How the hell did this happen when there are far more women in higher education than men? Oh well, I could have worse problems than this. And I feel better now that My Committee is aware of the situation and hasn't fallen over in complete disbelief.
Related note: Pink successfully defended her dissertation last week! Congrats to her! Very inspirational to the rest of us.
Normal has not been achieved on all counts just yet. Moving to a new town is challenging for Wife and Moose...they have no built-in way of meeting people the way I do at work. Not easy. Today Wife is attending a nearby church to check it out for us. We can't all go, since Moose needs to be either in the nursery or with the other kids his age accompanied by an aid. We are the natural aids for him in this situation, but then one or the other of us cannot attend the service. Normally church nurseries are for kids up to age 4, and he's almost 6, so we can't just walk into any church cold without having made prior plans. Again, "my kid's autistic, what's you're excuse?" Normal is different for us. I am not complaining or asking for sympathy. Rather, I'm just stating the facts. Wife will go to church today solo and will let me know how things go. Seems like a pretty interesting and progressive place, according to their Web site, so we shall see. If she likes it, then we'll phone the minister next week and see if we can make arrangements for Moose to hang in the nursery with the toddlers. We're hoping to find some family normalcy pretty soon, but we know it takes a while.