Ten years ago an older and wiser friend told me that people are like ducks—they seem to glide along smoothly above the surface, but below they thrash like mad. I thought of this the other day. Installing miniblinds, I was dripping sweat among cardboard boxes and the realizations that all my screwdrivers were worn out and the oddball windows in our new place were slightly smaller than standard. Shortening vinyl miniblinds a quarter-inch with a hacksaw surely counts for thrashing below the surface—but it did, in the end, work.
Chalk it up as a microcosm of our recent lives. Over the last year I have been thrashing wildly, teaching physics classes at night on top of my full-time research job, applying for dozens of permanent positions, pushing back against the Great Recession and leaving no spare moments. (No: we did not drop you from our Christmas card list. We didn't manage Christmas cards at all.) I got within a hair's breadth of a faculty gig before the opening evaporated in a state budget cut; the doors all ended up closed.
Apparently the Lord wasn't leaving anything up to chance, because in the end exactly one door opened, practically perfect. A cold email I'd written to a famous MIT professor (unconventional, a hacksaw for miniblinds) got noticed, and he offered me a job studying mixing in liquid metal batteries. Apartment hunting it happened again. After weeks of online research and days looking in person, we were able to see only a single apartment in the entire Boston area (advice: do not tell rental agents you have two large dogs, not even gentle and quiet ones). But that single apartment was too good to be true, with a park across the street and kids everywhere—since we moved in, one neighborhood parent told me we've “found paradise.” Jessie and Martha are making fast friends, and when they start school next month (Jessie in first grade, Martha in kindergarten), it will likely be a language immersion program, which we think is great. Meanwhile Neely is a giddy, high-energy mom, lining up family outings around the Boston area, scheduling play dates, polishing off the logistical mountain of our move, and gearing up for plans of her own come fall.
Anyway the point of all this is that we have moved, ducks gliding along a little bit across our proverbial pond, and did not want that advancement to leave us lost to dear friends and family. (A whoop of joy and gratitude here for all our pals in New Haven—we miss you already!) The guest bedroom is ready to go, Boston and Cambridge are tons of fun, and we'd love to see you soon. Our mobile numbers and email addresses remain unchanged, so give us a yell!