Life Update: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

THE GOOD:

So last time I gave you a full-ish update, I mentioned that Dan had gotten a part-time job and we were still looking. Yo, Pharmacy is not a joke right now. Anyone thinking about going into it should know that getting a job is REALLY DIFFICULT. And not just for an unfinished resident. I mean, IN GENERAL, it’s incredibly competitive.

But something kind of amazing has been happening to us lately…

The job that Dan landed is a PRN job which if you are not familiar with the medical field it basically means “as needed” or like “a substitute pharmacist pretty much”. He was told that it would probably only be one weekend a month. Like ten hours or something like that. So yeah. It was a PANIC. Ten hours a month ain’t a real job. So we were up to our necks trying to find something else.

BUT THEN. Once Dan got all trained up, he started getting a lot of shifts… and then a second site hired him… and then they started giving him remote shifts. Now all of the sudden he’s working full-time.

I kept watching our Google calendar fill up month by month before finally, I realized… this is the job. Dan loves it. It’s the EXACT company that he wanted to work for. And he gets to spend a TON of time with the family. Like… this is it, dude. Why mess with such a good thing?

There are other little details that need to be ironed out since PRN isn’t a traditional job, but I think we can make it work and I finally feel… settled. I spent the last however many months feeling on edge and overly anxious about “THE JOB” when… it was there all along. He had it within the first six weeks.

THE BAD

I always have to mention the writing so here it is.

I re-read my last “Life Update” from May and it made me freaking whimper. EVERYTHING IS STILL THE EXACT SAME. LIKE NOTHING HAS CHANGED ALL SUMMER. Isn’t that dumb!? I work on stuff every day with like so little to show for it. And I know, emotionally, I’ve had a lot on my plate… like honestly a bowling ball on my paper plate. But still! It really sucks. Because through all the hard days the ambition has not gone away. In fact, I would say that the ambition has only gotten bigger and meaner. Like a fat, feral, untamed ambition eating me from the inside out. And all I do now is sulk around the house complaining that I don’t have ten more novels finished since May.

I just want something to happen. Anything. A big gust of wind in my sails. I need to feel like I’m moving forward.

THE UGLY

It’s been a very difficult time for me personally.

Someone very close to me has been diagnosed with an aggressive cancer. I don’t want to say who it is, to respect their privacy, but just know that it is a relationship that is absolutely irreplaceable. Every day I have to wake up and imagine what my life would be like without that person. And I don’t know what’s going to happen.

If you are the praying sort… or you vibe with vibes… or you’re a really cynical person but you’re good at sending funny memes… just keep me in mind, I guess.

Other than that kids are doing great! They are so sweet. Getting bigger every day! Life overall has been good… which is weird because it’s been the absolute worst year of my life.

Also in retrospect, I should have started with the worst thing and ended with the best thing. Welp. That’s what I get for trying to do some cutsie title. SORRY. Tune in for, hopefully, some cheerier updates down the road.

Life Update: Hi! So, it’s been a secret disaster

Hey, remember when I had a weekly blog and then dropped off the face of the planet for a couple of months?

So it’s been more than two months. I feel bad about that. This is literally the longest that I’ve ever gone without posting anything since I started the blog. (Even after having a kid.) I was secretly hoping for things to settle completely before coming out and having to talk about this. BuUuUUuuUUuuut that hasn’t quite yet happened, so … I’m just gonna talk about it, I guess.

 

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My husband and I play this game when we’re stressed out. I call it, “Lay the Cards.” When we’re anxious about something we come up with four different outcomes.

  1. The absolute best dream outcome that could ever happen in your wildest imagination.
  2. A good outcome that’s also realistic.
  3. A bad outcome that’s more realistic.
  4. The absolute, complete worst outcome you can think of suffering through.

We look at all the outcomes and try to come up with how we would respond to each scenario, therefore ‘laying out all our cards’ and preparing for anything.

Well, one night we played that game… and the absolute, complete worst outcome that we came up with… ENDED. UP. HAPPENING.

Of all the times we have played that game, that has never happened to us. Never ever.

I don’t want to get into the details of things, because overall I just feel like that’s unprofessional. (Even if it’s not my profession.) But basically what I can tell you is that a situation got to a point where it was completely out of our control and Dan was forced to end his residency only ninety days shy of graduating.

We were told from multiple sources that an early termination from a residency would result in being “blacklisted” from ever getting a job at a hospital or clinic. And if that doesn’t seem so bad, let me concern you by phrasing it another way… You could spend five years of your life, get into an unbelievably massive student loan debt and be told you’re not getting your dream job only 12 weeks away from qualifying.

BUT YOU KNOW FREAKING WHAT?

It’s been six weeks. And Dan GOT A JOB. AND IT IS IN A HOSPITAL BY THE WAY. Let me just rewrite that for any abused lil’ pharmacist. MY HUSBAND GOT A JOB IN A HOSPITAL WITHOUT A RESIDENCY. IT IS POSSIBLE AND REAL TO DO SO. The coolest part about the job is that it’s the exact same company that he wanted out of residency anyway. The un-coolest part about the job is that it’s part-time so… Foot in the door, but we’re still looking to take another job. 

Um. So yeah. It’s been hard to write. Upkeep simple things like this blog. In theory, it seems like I should have MORE time to write now that Dan is home to help with the kids. But I’ve been spending all of my free time elbows deep in Google job searches and ad posts. I’ve actually developed a long term twitch in my both my left eye and right eyebrow soooo… yikes? Daniel keeps telling me to write, but it’s been hard to motivate myself to do ANYTHING lately.

 

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It sucks. We have a lot of dreams and plans now idling behind a blockade. We’re likely going to be staying in Arizona for a good long while. But that’s hard to say as we’re still interviewing for full-time positions right now. So, sorry for anyone hoping for the Manwill return to Utah. And sorry for being a buttface and not updating this blog. But lots more news and interesting(?) posts to come.

Life Update: Partially Drowning

I may or may not have been in a pretty grouchy mood when I wrote this. But this is real. This is our life right now. Take it for what it is.

 

The Residency

Look. I’m going to be completely honest with you. But we are just miserable over here. If you don’t already know, Dan works 12hr+ shifts for twelve days straight through. Like sometimes his work days are longer than Jack is even awake. Which means they never get to see each other anymore. He is a zombie. And I am a single mom. And that’s how life is right now.

Okay. That’s not fair. Single moms have it worse because they are also sole-providers of their household. But zombies DO have it better because at least their hearts are dead.

I will say one thing though. My admiration for my husband has at least tripled since he became a resident. He does not feel the same way about himself. Which probably has to do with the way he is crapped on at his job.

“So is resident short for ‘resident toilet’?”

I do not know how he keeps it up. Honestly, if it had been me. I would have peaced out five years ago. Like the first week of Pharm school. What a man. What a man. What a mighty patient man. Say it again now!

 

The Babes

Casey is the happiest lil’ thing you ever did saw. He’s always smiling. In fact, he’s smiling at me right now. Wherever we go, people comment on how happy he is. He’s honestly the most cheerful baby I’ve ever met.

I found out I was pregnant a year ago and I was sure that the new little baby was going to be the most challenging part of the year. But you know what? He wasn’t even close to being the hardest. He is SO EASY. Like, I thought my eldest was easy. And he really is. But this kid is like a little pink smiley angel of some kind.

Jack is doing both stellar and not stellar at the same time. He is going through the terrible twos. Some days I just want to rip my hair out. He gets upset over EVERYTHING. He can’t eat fistfuls of powdered parmesan. DISASTER. He has to walk to the car. END OF THE WORLD. You put on the wrong YouTube video. GAME OVER. And most of the time it’s like you have no idea why he’s screaming and crying and you just kind of stare at him while he’s rolling around. He’s finally catching up on a speech delay but I think the still-present communication barrier is sending his frustrations through the roof.

 

The Writing

I feel like a freaking plastic bag caught in a tornado. Just whipping around from here to there and having no direction at all.

I started coming up with this new novel-plotting technique. Because 1) I’m desperately pragmatic when it comes to book writing and 2) developmental edits are like ten thousand splinters beneath my eyelid. So I came up with what I felt like was a good system and I started practicing it on the one book that I knew OH SO WELL. (The story that I had been working on for more than two years.) And as I was re-plotting, I came to the dreadful realization that… I am going to have to re-write this book A-FREAKING-AGAIN. I don’t even know what draft this is. Five? Six?

I stopped querying immediately. And ugh. It was a complete gut job. I wrote 20k new words, stitched it all together and zapped the monster with lightning in my mad scientist lab. And through all the sweat, tears and finger cramps I FINALLY had slapped together a sixth draft.

And you want to know what? When I stepped back to admire the work I had just done… I realized, wow… this is truly, truly, truly not good.

It still needs extensive work. Particularly the ending which is completely nonsensical. I shut my laptop and whispered, ‘I need a break from you’. It honestly was the same feeling as when your hair gets so hopelessly snarled and tangled that you bust out the kitchen scissors. I need a break. I need a torrent affair with another story. Or SOMETHING. Work on an entirely new thing, until I’m a better, smarter writer and then regroup.

I won’t lie. Giving up is really tempting right now. I could just take my little butchered story, thank it like Marie Kondo and then shove it into the bottom of a Goodwill box.

 

In four months so much will be better for us. Jack will likely be talking more. Residency will be over and I could have time to invest into these projects. But for today, we are just slogging along to the finish line.

Just a Random Blog Post on Everything That’s Been Going On

There is just so much happening right now that I’m not even sure how to consolidate this information into one post. So please forgive the scatter-brained mess this will be haha

1. ARIZONA

Arizona is great and we love it. Even with the summer heat, (I think the highest it’s gotten so far was 113 degrees Fahrenheit?) But tbh, I live the hermit lifestyle anyways and the AC in my apartment is great!

What I would say to someone looking to move down here would be… you like strip malls? Because at least where I live in East Mesa, there are alternating strip malls and gated communities in between a lot of palm trees and cacti. The great thing about it though is you are always in a close radius to any store you could dream of. There’s a department store or grocery store every two blocks and anywhere you’re at you are by a freeway enterance. The design is really smart and this state has everything dialed in. Like OH MY GOSH all the roads are huge!

‘Kay, I don’t know if it’s just the area I’m in, but the people here are either big hit or completely frigid when it comes to friendliness. And (kiiiind of an agist perspective) I’ve noticed that it is totally dependent on age. Like, the younger people in my building complex. Lol… I will straight up make eye contact with them and loudly say, “Hi!!” And they will 100% snub me as they pass. On the other hand, I’ve had several old people stop and talk to me *just because I was smiling to myself*. It’s a funny dynamic. I’m sure my loud, young-person greetings pins me as an outsider even more than my translucent skin color and long pants.

Overall, this place is a big hit for Dan and I. Jack has adjusted very well to our new apartment and has been EATING UP all of the time he gets with Daddy.

THE PREGNANCY

Yeah! The pregnancy is going well. I don’t know how I always manage to be pregnant when we move somewhere and end up being the useless lump. Ugh. Carrying Jack is getting harder and I get a lot more tired than normal. But I think that has to do with all the running around we’ve been doing as well. This baby is SUPER SUPER active. I feel twists and turns all day and Daniel can even feel little kicks now. Trying to find a doc is a bit stressful, but everything is going great. Stay tuned for a gender reveal soon!

WRITING

So if you haven’t seen my last update, my computer blew up. WRITERS. WORST. NIGHTMARE. I ordered a new computer and now I’m waiting for it to arrive. (Typing this on my phone still).

Fortunately, my novel is backed up and safe. If June hadn’t been so hellishly ridiculous I might have my fourth draft finished by now. Buuuuuut nonetheless I am incredibly close. I can see the finish line. Just another round of edits (Oh, just that?? That’s nothing. **SARCASM**) and then TA FREAKING DA, I’ll start beggining door to door for representation.

Here’s something cute: I was in the bathroom getting ready and could hear Dan on the phone with an insurance agent. (He didn’t know I was listening) When they asked what I did for a living, he very confidently responded, “She’s an author.” THIS DOLL I MARRIED WHAT THE HECK! He believes in me so hard! I hope he’s right. And I hope I can kick it back into gear when my new laptop comes.

Oh and PS the cute black laptop that died was named ‘Othello’. I’m considering naming this next one ‘Horatio’, since, ya know, he’s basically the only character that survives in Hamlet. And I’m really looking for a computer who can live to “tell my story”. Haha!

That’s about it. Blech. Sorry. At some point I’ll get back to normal with this blog and put out more embarrassing stories.

 

Writing Update

Can’t talk now. NaNoWriMo.

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“The Other Five Percent”:

Total word goal: 55,000 – 70,000

Word goal for November: 50,000

 

Words written so far: 37,723!!

 

Guys! I am killing it! At this rate I will definitely be finishing the first draft before December. This has been even way more fun than I thought!

 

See my stats here: https://nanowrimo.org/participants/val-manwill/novels/the-other-five-percent/stats 

See what my book is about here: The Other Five Percent