Monday, August 04, 2008


Some decisions are easy to make. Like whether or not to keep a three-legged, beer-drinking kitten. No, I don't exactly let him drink it from a saucer, I just can't help it if Ray wants to lick my lips after I've had a sip of beer. From what I gathered from the comments on my last post, you all knew Ray would be staying. Yes, the timing is bad but sometimes practicality must be forgone in favor of what you feel in your heart. I tried for two weeks to convince Dean that keeping Ray was right for us. His mom and dad tried as well to convince him not to let anyone else take him, that we knew his needs and what was best for him. But I think that in the end, it was Nellie, Wrigley, and Allison that tipped the scale in favor of making Dean (and I) believe this is exactly where he belongs. The "big kitties" love him so much and play so gently with him, it almost makes me proud of them. While I knew saying good bye to him would be hard, I'd would have understood why it was necessary. Ray's "cat parents" can't reason in that way, and it became increasingly clear that we just couldn't bear to separate them.

My mother-in-law, God bless her heart, has agreed to sew up some improvised socks for his gimp leg by cutting the fingers off of knitted winter gloves and sewing around the edges to prevent them from unraveling. I'm certain she thought by this point she'd be sewing booties for a different occasion, but we cannot help the twists and turns our lives take and we'll get there eventually.

There were a couple of terms to the negotiation that Dean and I settled upon. One, Dean got to choose a new name for Ray because he didn't like the name I picked out. So Ray is now McLovin*. But he will still be Ray on his vet records and in appropriate social situations where I feel that people might not see the humor in a cat named McLovin. Anyway, it's a different sort of name for a different sort of cat and believe it or not, it fits him. Yes, he is still the sweet kitty I described to you, but as time goes on and he becomes more comfortable he has proven to be a bit of a spazz. Second, Ray/McLovin isn't really "our cat" for as long as we live in apartment, but instead a "permanent foster". Because apparently four cats in an apartment is absurd. Once we get settled in a house, his status will be upgraded from "permanent foster" to "full house cat" accordingly, though the promotion is in title only. He is currently loved every bit as much as all the others. Below is one of my favorite pictures so far. But beware, he is laying in my laundry basket. I have blurred out the undies.

Some decisions are more difficult to make. Like whether or not to take the job I was offered last week.

I have not talked very much about the job search because it has been terribly stressful and the job market has been so depressing that I had no idea if I'd simply end up flipping burgers. Which is more than some people can do right now. My first choice for a job was to get a National Research Council Fellowship to work in a national lab of my choice for two years at an awesome salary. As it turned out, I got sickeningly close to achieving this, and I've been told that under average funding circumstances (as opposed to the completely anemic science funding that has scarred research the past several years), I would have definitely gotten it. I am still a little bitter about this.

Because I got so close, I was told I'd automatically be reconsidered for a fellowship during the next review cycle. I wouldn't have to resubmit transcripts and letters of recommendation. Only to strengthen my research proposal, which I think I did. However, these decisions aren't made until January, and I can't afford to wait until then. The good news is that if I do get it this time around, I can defer it for up to a year.

None of this would be as important if it weren't for the fact that I didn't get my second choice job (despite being invited for an on-site interview). And my third choice type of job, getting a permanent position in industry, is not going well. The company where I did my internship doesn't generally hire new Ph.D.'s, they prefer post-doctoral experience. I've applied anyway, without much success because I am competing with people much more qualified than I.

So it seemed like a logical choice to take an academic postdoc position. Those typically last a year and the contract can be renewed for a second year. That way, if during my first year I get the job I really want, I can leave after gaining a year more experience, doing research, publishing papers, etc. If once again I am passed over for this fellowship, I have an additional year to really look hard for a job in industry, and hopefully gain ground on some of the people I am competing with now.

This isn't ideal, but it seems like it might be necessary. It is while keeping in mind that I didn't really want to do an academic postdoc that I tell you I got an offer for an academic postdoc at a very good institution. Not the best, but a huge step up from where I am now (sorry, I still love you USF!). Someone planning to stay in academia would be thrilled, but sometimes I can't help but see it as treading water for yet another year. I know this isn't true - this is a place where I can build up a name for myself and work under someone I've admired for a long time. Someone with strong ties to the magnetic recording industry and two of the national labs where I've been wanting to work.

So it's a tough choice. But it's in a great area (New England), someplace we'd like to spend a little bit of time. And of course Deano is being is wonderful, loving, supporting self and is happy to follow me where ever I want to go. Anyway, enough rambling. I'll let you know when this decision is final.

*For those of you who haven't seen Superbad, here is some background.

UPDATE: I took the job. :)


Jeni said...

I really had to chuckle about your newest kitten and the decisions you reached about him. Yeah, I kind of figured when you intially wrote about him that he'd found himself a "fish" -meaning a home! And that's good news, ya know. As to the job search, It's a bummer when you don't land one you really kind of had your cap set on but then too, I think New England would be really nice change of scenery too over Florida! Just hang tight, do the best, make the best, you can out of the lemons that sometimes seem to be in the middle of the path.

Gram said...

As far as I'm concerned there was never any doubt you would keep your latest kitty!And Deano is just as soft a touch as you are. He just wants us to think he is tougher but inside he is all fluffy and soft.
As for the job market, in todays climate I feel you have to go where the jobs are and if Deano is willing to support your decisions you have it made. Good luck and even if New England is far from family, Florida is far also.And just think, New England is supposed to be a bastion of liberal thinkers( Ted Kennedy, Kerry, and so on.) And just chew on this: You and Deano could become RED SOCKS fans! :)

LL said...

I knew you were screwed as soon as you posted his picture...

Best of fortune on your decision. At this stage of the game, I'm voting that any paying job right now is a good job...

Dianne said...

I knew you would keep him but not because of how dedicated you are - this time it just felt like he belonged. Sounds silly to say but I got a really strong vibe from the photo of him being held up in the air!

New England is beautiful and a year building up your name sounds good and hell kid, money is money.

You and Deano and all the furkids are magic. You'll always do the right thing even when it isn't clear what that is.

Beth said...

I call my son mclovin. hahaha

What a nice addition to your family. I had to catch up on Ray on the other post. You have such a big heart.

I know I am biased, but I've been everywhere and lived in so many places, but I still find the New England states the most beautiful, historic, and breathtaking.

magnetbabe said...

To clarify, I definitely wouldn't call this current offer a lemon! Everyone knew we would keep him. I've never heard the term "fish" used for a home, interesting...

gram -
He's even softer than me at times. He gets more emotional giving up the foster kittens than me and for several days he wouldn't get near this guy for fear of getting attached! Yes, I'm very excited to move to a "blue" part of the country, but we'll never EVER be Red Sox fans!!!

ll -
So true. I had to laugh at your last "risky behavior" comment. Actually, Dean jokingly said that he knew I loved this kitten right away and that he was "my reward" for letting the rest go.

Dianne -
Thanks for always boosting me up. Yes, I think we both got that vibe. Deano just fought the vibe more than me, but he really does belong.

Beth -
That's hilarious about your son. "Sounds like an Irish R&B singer!" I haven't been to that part of the country much, NYC twice and Vermont once. I'm looking forward to the change of scenery.

Hot4Teacha said...

Yay for keeping McLovin', and yay for the new job!!! I feel a visit to NE in my near future... :) But I will tell you I'm coming this time, ok??

fermicat said...

Congrats on the new job!

Glad to hear the kitty is settling in so nicely. What a sweetheart.

Your line, "I have blurred out the undies." made me laugh.