If We Were Having Coffee: The Last Sunday of September

library coffee shop 004If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that

I left out some important information when I posted yesterday about my husband and me and Why We Live so Far Apart. It was pointed out by Dan of No Facilities, who commented, “I’m sure it means a lot to his sister and mom that he is there.” I obviously left out that their mother actually died nearly a year and a half ago. So part of the reason all of this time in Iowa is so important is that Cathy is now alone except for her two dogs. Their mother had ended up in a nursing home when Cathy started her last round of chemo. Helping with the health issues (including a couple of insurance hassles) and working through the decision about what to do about the house is a process that takes a while.

But I’d also tell you that we are looking forward to the holidays and a chance to spend the time together. I will have Thanksgiving with my family, so it will be nice to head to Iowa for Christmas.

planeI’d tell you that today marks two months since I boarded a plane in Taiwan to head back to the US. It seems both like it’s been forever and like it was just yesterday. But things are settling down in many ways, and it definitely feels like it was the right thing to do.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I’ve already been scheduled for two criminal justice classes in the winter semester. In addition, I had an interview this week with the sociology department. I’m being recommended to teach a course for them as well. But it has to be approved by the faculty association, since that course would exceed the normal yearly limit for an adjunct faculty member. Still, it’s across two departments–not all in one, so there will probably be no problem.

I would tell you that Jack is now 3 1/2 weeks old. I haven’t been back to see him again, but I’m going to talk to my parents and see if we can plan a trip to rectify that situation. I love how he seems to know he’s in charge. halvorson familyHave a great week!

Part of the link up at Part-Time Monster.

Why We Live So Far Apart

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASome of my readers don’t understand why my husband and I are apart. And with good reason. I’ve never really explained it very well. So for those of you who think we’re crazy, you’re right I wanted to clear the air.

Dave is from Iowa, and I’m from Michigan. He’s been in Taiwan four years, and I’ve been there six. (This first two years, we thought it was only two years max, so he stayed in the States with an agreement that if my time in Taiwan went beyond those two years, he would join me. Hence, his four years in Taiwan.)

We each made one separate trip home a year (except the last year, where neither of us made the trip). He would go during part of the school year; I would go in the summer. During one of his trips home, he stayed much longer (nearly three months) because his sister’s cancer had returned. Since this sister also lived with their mother and did a lot of her care, Dave was there to help with his mother and help his sister through insurance hassles, surgery, treatment, and general recovery. Since that recover, Cathy goes in for regular check-ups and tests to monitor things.

Several months ago (maybe even a year or so–I’m not clear on the timing), they found a spot on her lung that had shown up a little too late to be considered scar tissue, but too small to be conclusive, so they stepped up the checks to every three months. We were still in Taiwan during this time, and we kept hoping this would stay small and on a wait and watch situation until we could get home. It would have been nice to think it could just go away, but after the history, it was likely the cancer would return at some point. In June, Cathy went in for tests, and things remained unchanged. We breathed a sigh of relief because by the time she went in again in September, we would be back in the US.

Based on this situation and the fact that Cathy is considering selling the house she shared with her mother and moving to something easier for her to manage with her ongoing health issues, Dave and I made a decision that he would go to Iowa, and I would return to Michigan. I applied for jobs in both locations, and we agreed that we would ultimately end up in one place. But it was important to both of us to do what could be done to help Cathy through the next set of treatments and decisions.

This past week, it was time for another visit to the doctor, and this time the CT scan showed that there was a change, and that things were going to need to be done. Now, further tests will be done next month and a treatment regimen will be recommended. We are all grateful that surgery is NOT part of scenario this time around. Still, there is a lot of recovery ahead. And as much as Dave and I would like to be together, he is where he needs to be right now.

Dave will be working with Cathy to see what she wants to do about the house, but it has also become clear that job-wise, I’m better off here in Michigan. That means that by sometime next spring or early summer, Dave will most likely be joining me here. We can’t wait! In the meantime, I will go to Iowa to visit Dave and Cathy during the semester break. So Dave and I will have three weeks together in addition to our ongoing daily phone calls and our weekend online emails. Although, he’s going to be getting internet at the house as long as he’s going to be there for several more months. That will help increase our connection until we can be together again.

In the meantime, I will comment from time to time how much it sucks to be separated, but at the same time, I know that it really remains a good decision.