Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Room of One's Own

In college, I read Virgina Woolf’s book where this title is borrowed from. It talked about how women need had been short shifted of various things… it’s full of great ideas but perhaps the one that sank in the most was the one that girls needed a room of their own. When Kiana was born, we bought a house a month before and it was “nested” at her birth. Shortly after the surgery, her and I picked out decorations and she picked out 95% of them including the paint color, a moment that as I left it completely up to her sure made me nervous.

I met with a realtor today Mike Minns and crunched numbers with him about the house and moving and selling it and motivations. He was also the father of a little girl and as we walked around the house, it became evident he was more human than salesman, which perhaps made him better at both. He became aware that the guy who claims to be driven by logic had bought a house partly because it had a dog door for the “puppy” he brought from the south pacific and that the room that clearly had the most effort put into it was his daughter’s room and the one that had the least was his own. He expressed the gratefulness he had for his own wife and how much effort she puts into their parenting together. 

In the end, for the time being as we talked, we aren’t listing the house. I bought it a block away from a really good school a month before she was born so I could walk her to school and I hope to be able to pull that off. I sat for a job interview today and we’ll have a follow up but I can’t imagine I’ll take it. I think I’d be decent at it but they were selling how much money I could make… that can’t be the only reason to go to work. It was, oddly enough, with an insurance company and it was a little frustrating to hear how much money they paid… when I’ve argued with insurance companies so much for the last 18 months. They liked the fact I’d been valedictorian and class president and had trophies at home and that I was competitive. All of those things are true but the guy who was Salutatorian well he’s a specialist doctor making 400K a year and the girl who was vice president is also a doctor and makes about as much. (I could have never been a doctor, having no capacity to handle blood). My finances aren't great enough to stay unemployed forever... but theoretically because of the time I'm paid off I have time till July 15th and until then I want to take it a little slow because if there's anything I've learned from the exwife and the exjob is that I'm not much of a quitter, so I should be careful where I commit. Employment is stuff because there are great people where helping was a factor but money was a driving factor as well and it never has been for me. If the love of money is the root of all evil, I am a saint because I just couldn’t care less. I worked as a salesman for one year... worked hard at it in advertising, even selling the spine of the yellowpages. It enabled me paying for my exes college education without any debt... but I had no passion to go to work everyday.  I don’t know if I’m going to beat this, I kind of work off the original premise of what Friedman said, we’re hoping to get you to 40. My hopes are high but somewhere in my gut and on days I feel light headed well… I just don’t know if even 40 is coming and dying with more toys… well you still die. I keep training for races rather and keep looking at this bracelet… knowing I never get to be cancer free and telling myself that there may come a day where I don’t’ get to livestrong but today is not it. And if I go to work everyday just for a paycheck, is that in anyway living strong?

Andy Stewart (I may owe him my whole life, he turned me to my running group, to Livestrong, has given me clothes for Kiana) turned me to Greenlights which is a monster.com type thing for non profits. I’ve applied for a couple of jobs and have some interviews coming up, including one with Big Brother, Big Sisters. I don’t know a whole lot of details about it but somewhere my sense of humor wants to get the Big Brother one just so I can say, in the end I loved big brother. The American Cancer Society contacted me today saying that by the time I applied for their marathon/half marathon team coordinator they already had offered the position but that we can sit together to discuss other involvement in the future. And the magazine that turned me down for Most Eligible Bachelor wants to do an article and I’m going to see if I can’t spin it into something promoting the Brain Power5k and Hawktober… 

Kiana is with her mom for a couple of weeks during the extended summer visit and I am going to see her every day that she’s in daycare that I can pull off. I am going to take her out of it someday to do something here at home a few blocks away or take her out to eat.  Showing the efficiency of government, theoretically tomorrow is when I’m supposed to hear back from them but when I sent them an email saying I’d be going to the board above them if I didn’t her back by tomorrow, well they set an appointment for June 28th. I’ve had 3 attorneys who want to take this case which is saying something I guess. I haven’t signed anything but I will if we don’t get somewhere relatively decent on June 28th but I hope it doesn’t happen… I just think people ought to be able to work things out without attorneys but I am an idealist. But I am not just going to walk away with things as they are... because well that's dumb.

I don’t know if this is spin or trying to make myself feel better but I am trying to take this all as a (pun intended) mind opening experience. I rushed back from Duke to my running group who literally embraced me, to the Livestrong grand opening, to my family (some which would be gone very quickly) and to my job who wanted a hundred things signed… Some were easy to return to, some clearly this cancer and how I mishandled some of it and how I handled some of it was the last straw. The ones who have stuck with me and I with them… well it’s improved. I hope that ad that I did with Livestrong has helped show how great they are. Actually, all of this process has helped me understand why a big thing that Livestrong does is give people the option to still have kids after cancer…actually my favorite of the videos that got released at the same time as mine was one about that (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hPLWtMU1Mg&feature=relmfu). I am nowhere near ready but a good friend suggested that maybe if I found someone who helped me raise my child I should be prepared for us to have one of our own… if I could only grasp that providing for kids isn’t just about money. Although I've appreciated the half truth half lie joke that I need a woman who wants to be a mom but wants a stay at home dad. I'd sign up for that.

Some things are just better from good work and good guidance. I know I’m a better runner. My relationship with Kiana is better than it’s ever been because I keep working on the relationship I want to keep. Her room she always shows off when people come. It has a decoration of the moon (Kiana being the Hawaiian moon goddess), the color she picked for the walls (the color she wears the most often it seems) and is very moon related. In the end, I am glad for all I fought for but there’s no fight where there isn’t somethings lost, where some battle scars don't occur… Maybe that’s all I get out of all this, some appreciation for things I kept and I hope Kiana gets some of it and that I can help her keep a room of her own.  Here’s daring to dream.

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