Why am I Blogging at 11pm?

First week of the new job is behind me now, and I feel like I am settling in well. In my personal life, I have been contemplating 2017 goals, but mostly just staying busy. In the past week and a half I have met up with friends at a board game night, met a friend at the zoo, and gone to dinner with some people I haven’t spent time with since the fall. I did all this with my toddler along, and it worked out pretty well. I also went to a local developed hotspring with only the toddler on Superbowl Sunday (I am not a sports fan), and it was really nice to just enjoy hanging with the kiddo. Tomorrow I am taking him snowshoeing with some friends. Then on Sunday I *think* I will be meeting the Backpacker for a hike, sans kiddo. (Update: Yes I am. It’s finally settled.)

Speaking of the Backpacker, he is maybe the most frustrating text communicator I have ever met. Here is the shorthand version of the conversations we have had since our first in-person meeting:

B: I like you. I look forward to getting to know you better.

Me: I like you. Definitely interested in meeting up again. Hike, maybe?

B: Would like that a lot but won’t be able to see your beautiful self until next week. About to head out to the field for work.

Me: Okay. BTW, just got offered the job I interviewed for!

B: That’s great, sweetheart. I’ll have to give you a big hug and kiss next time I see you.

Me:  🙂

*The evening of the day Backpacker said he would be back in town…

B: Just got back. Congrats again on the job

Me: Thanks! Hope to hear more about your trip! Want to go on a hike, now you are back?

B: That sounds lovely

*A day later….

Me: Want to hike on this specific trail on one of these three days?

B: I am interested in a hike. *Shares opinion on location.*

Me: Great! How about location on Sun morning….

B:I like you

Me: 🙂

Me: ….. (Thinking, “was that a yes?”)

I could go on. And it did go on for a while. Backpacker showing enthusiasm but leaving big gaps when it came to actually making plans. It was a lot harder to pin something down than it should have been. But in person he seemed like a really great guy. Hope I agree with that judgement after this next date.

Advertisements

Adventures

First day at the new job today. I am really excited about the position and think it will be fun and challenging work, surrounded by a good group of people. As a person who has turned away from a natural resources career and toward education, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to be able to teach kids about nature. 


The downside to this job, if I have not mentioned it before, is the very limited time off. I suppose it is comparable to a lot of other jobs in the US in that way, and I will have a somewhat more flexible weekly schedule than most people could hope to have. But as somebody who used to take jobs with 8 days on / 6 days off schedules (or 4 on / 3 off), I know the value of a real weekend. 2 days off is enough to do some things, and I will embrace the schedule I have for the next couple years. But I daydream about an education job that will give me summers off. I wish there was some in-between… Environmental Education and a 4 on / 3 off schedule? I don’t know…


The part of me that wishes for free time also is looking at this thing with the Backpacker… And not even just the Backpacker himself, but the kind of guy the Backpacker represents: Well-traveled, regularly challenging himself with new outdoor adventures. He’s ambitious about the outdoors in a way not unlike I used to be, and we hit it off largely because we both have the same enthusiasms about hiking, and we both have an internal voice that says, “Adventure is not the result of avoiding inconvenience and discomfort; it is the result of embracing those things.” But… I have to plan for myself and a kid, and I do not have a job that will let me roam around the west for weeks at a time the way I used to. Even with compatible mindsets, there is a world of difference between what the two of us can logistically accomplish. Today at work I learned about a potential new nature teacher who could be working under me. I haven’t met her, but she apparently teaches skiing in the winter and is looking to do environmental education in the summertime. She could be the definition of the kind of girl the Backpacker and other outdoorsy guys look for: adventurous, unlimited in her ability to do … basically anything. It makes me feel a little sad, and old. (And yes, I know… I have value too.)


The only way I can combat these blues is to start coming up with some challenges for myself this year. Not just challenges — Bucket list activities. They don’t have to be things I have never done before; they merely have to represent my best use of the time I have to find adventure. More on this to come.

Employment Upgrade

I got a job offer today, and I accepted it. All this school year I have been working as an elementary substitute teacher, and I have started studying for my alt route to certification teaching exams. Everything has been going decently well, though my income as a sub is not quite enough to get by on. In addition, I have felt a little adrift since I stopped pursuing land agency work. My biology degree has felt — not useless, but not well-used. I figured (and still think) education is the right course for me, because I want to have summers and holidays that match my kid’s holidays as he grows up. I want to have time to go on big outdoor adventures, like I used to do for so many years. Teaching public school is a path to that dream. Right now, though, I am taking a detour… I will be working as an education coordinator for a local conservation-type organization. It is year round work, FT, and should enable me to pay my bills, even though the pay is not high. This will give me stability for a few years, give me some work experience that will *hopefully* make me a stand-out candidate for a public school position, and allow me to take my time in choosing what job to jump into next. I will not have that adventuring freedom, but …one step at a time. This job is a blessing. And the people I will be working with seem really nice.

This weekend I am taking my toddler to family day at a local hotspring as celebration of the new job. Between feeling cooped up with winter weather and exploring the world of online dating, I have been distracted in his presence this past couple of months. I realize how much when I do give him moments of full attention and he opens up immediately with smiles and giggles. I don’t want to take this time with him for granted, or to lose sight of how important he is to me. I don’t think I really forget, but when I am struggling to make space in my schedule for a simple coffee date and I talk to a cool new guy who has the freedom to travel and have adventures like I used to do…. It does make me wistful. Though I was there once, looking at the different life paths, and I knew parenting was an adventure I wanted to experience in my lifetime. So — am I wistful? Yes. But I do not at all regret my choices.

Backpacker is in the field until next Tuesday, so I have a little freedom from thinking about guys for a while. I could see his schedule and personal travel plans (frequent as they are) as a bad sign for somebody I am interested in, but I don’t. My ex and I adventured everywhere together for years, just the two of us, and it was lovely and I would never trade in those experiences. But we were so tight that we had nobody else, and I am really enjoying my independence as a divorcee. If Backpacker and I work out, I think some of that independence and breathing space would not be a bad thing. Of course, it is too early to know anything about where this might or might not go.

Actually

So, the Backpacker did arrange to meet up with me after all. The slow communication has been in part due to his field work and having to camp for his job. As to the rest, well, I decided to take a chance on him and it was actually a really nice date. He seems like a very interesting person and I really like him. Too tired at the moment to write much else, but you know that giddy feeling when you have a crush on somebody and find out they like you back? Yeah, that. Throw in a kid and a difficult schedule and it gets more complicated, but for now I will gladly take the giddiness of meeting somebody new and hitting it off.

Sigh.

Ok, here is a poll, small handful of people who might read this blog post: when do you decide a dude is too flaky to bother meeting up with? 

See previous handful of posts if you really want to know my background (such as it is) with the Backpacker. Seriously annoyed that somebody could be told I don’t like to text endlessly, tell me he wants to meet up, tell me consistently that he is attracted to this thing or that thing about me, and then drag out making arrangements for days. I think I have my answer, honestly. 

Sunday, Sunday

I am very much liking my life these days. I really am strengthening my connections here in town and I am having an easier time finding ways to get out and people to get out with each week. Today was less eventful than Saturday but I did host a hike with a local hiking club in the evening. We walked about 4 miles on a dirt road in mud but the company was good, and the sunset and distant city lights were pretty to look at.

I am still trying to figure out the Backpacker, but maybe he really is just a little awkward? (Opinions on this may change.) After I basically said I was interested in meeting but not interested in texting forever he did step up, a little. He said he wanted to meet, and then a (slightly painful and reminiscent of the sloth DMV scene in the movie ‘Zootopia’) rambling discussion about where and when ensued. He is not a fast text responder most of the time, and his responses tend toward “I don’t know, what works for you?” (That isn’t very promising, is it?) I lost my phone in the middle of this prolongued text dialogue and only found it again this evening just before midnight, so nothing has been settled yet. But hopefully it will be settled tomorrow. Maybe? Good lord. Who would have thought “Let’s get coffee” would be this complicated.

The Toddler Test: Day…5?

It is already obvious to me that I will not be able to keep count to 30 days, much less 60. No matter.

Today was just a really lovely day. The Women’s March in our state capitol was this morning. I was planning to meet up with some people from my parent group at a coffee shop first, but I didn’t know their faces. When I arrived at the bistro I joined what I thought was the right group at a little table, only to discover that it was a group of ladies working to expand extracurricular Spanish in local elementary schools. We had a nice talk despite the mix-up, and I have their business card now. Shortly after discovering my mistake, another surprise- in to the coffee shop walked a neighbor from my old street who I haven’t seen in well over a year. We chatted a little, and finally a face I did know from my parent group showed up. She introduced me to everybody else and I had a group to hang out with during the march. It was a great event. I had the toddler and we only stayed an hour, but the crowd was really something to see. The local paper said more than 3000 people came, and it felt good to see that number out in the snow and showing their support for kindness, decency, and human rights.

This afternoon I drove out to the wildlife refuge I used to work at and checked out an education trunk. I chatted with my old office-mate and a volunteer I used to work with, then went to hang out with a friend for the afternoon. We were going to try and do crafts, but my toddler was not interested in letting that happen. So instead we hung out, chatted, and did a little zumba workout (I did mine while the toddler hung off my arms and legs).

Oh, and the backpacker texted to say he wants to meet up. I am still skeptical it will happen, but it was unexpected in a good way. For now I am happy to see how things develop.