Saturday, September 14, 2013

Slow Processes (fleas and career changes)

We have fleas.

Actually, our pets have fleas and my oldest daughter, who is sensitive to these sorts of things, has a bunch of flea bites. The dog is treated with the stuff from the vet's office, but the cats, foolishly on our part, have gone untreated. We will be rectifying that this week. In the meantime, we are vacuuming, washing all the sheets, putting a pan of soapy water under my oldest daughter's bed (we'll believe most anything we read on the Internet), and combing our pets hair.

This last bit has been fascinating. We have a flea comb and, using a quart Chinese soup container filled with soapy water, we dip the comb and run it over our cats and the dog pretty regularly. We're up to our fourth combing today on the cats and second on the dog who seems to be pretty much in the clear thanks to her vet treatment. Each time I comb the cats out I get a dozen or so fleas into the soapy water. This both pleases and disheartens me.

I'm pleased in that I'm getting that dozen fleas out of the cat and doing that much to eradicate the problem. I'm disheartened thinking that I keep getting a dozen out each time and don't seem to be making much progress at all. Maybe this is how these things go. We might be fighting an uphill battle here and it's likely that we will need the cavalry.

So I'm thinking about things that are uphill battles, quixotic quests, and lost causes. I was reminded of this today out walking the dog. I ran into a neighbor who is kind to us but taciturn in most of her conversation. She was concerned about the hoodlums running about the neighborhood and messing up the nearby annual street fair. She is pretty sure that the world is going to hell in a hand-basket. She needs a dog. Her dog had to be put down last year and she needs a dog to walk her around the neighborhood in good weather or bad to see that we don't really have any hoodlums here abouts. A dog would help her feel better about the uphill battle she is facing in watching the world change around her.

Which makes me wonder what i need to feel even a little better about the school in which I teach and the things I'm being required to do. I don't know if there is anything that can make any of that better other than a way out.

I wish I felt right now like there was somewhere to go, something else to do, but this too feels a bit hopeless. I trained in college to be a teacher. While others took business and psychology, fields that lead to lots of different types of jobs, I was laser focused on becoming a teacher and that's just what I became. Happily. But now that I want to move on, even though I know I have skills that could apply in many different fields, I don't know how to figure out what to do. My first instinct is to go back to school and train to be something else. I'm pretty sure though that I don't really have to go back to school. I just have to talk with a lot of people and start trying things.

My wife and I talked about some of this tonight. She feels terrible not knowing what to do to help me. It's two things we have in common: not knowing what to do and feeling terrible. That might be just the thing I need though. Feeling terrible is a kind of motivation.

I don't know what to do and I feel like I've been trying to figure that out for years. Instead of that, maybe it's time to just start trying things. I'm not sure how to do that and still provide for my family, but I'm going to chew on that problem for a while.

As I do that, I have to be open to asking for help from other people and then listening to what they say. I have to be willing to try the things they suggest.

Tomorrow morning, I'll have the chance to ask our friend who is a vet if I can get our cats in for some of the good flea stuff. I'll ask what other things we can do to get rid of the fleas. I have trouble asking for help in this way, I've learned to feel like a bother doing that, but it's time to try new things and see what happens.

So if any of you have some idea for what I should be when I grow up, by all means please write me a note. In the mean time, I'll write on.