I am watching this Netflix documentary about “Life in the Dog House” and I have way too many feelings.

We’ve got a lot going on right now, so I’m probably more open to feelings than I might otherwise be. With the disclaimer that I am mostly mining for advice, here are today’s survey questions:

  • There have been a lot of auto accidents in my immediate circles and nothing is ever certain. My dad is having some health problems. They’re probably fixable and he’ll probably be fine, but it feels like the canary in the coalmine in that he is getting older, he is stubborn about normal medical attention. At some point it won’t be fixable, and it’s really important to me to cherish whatever time is left. (It wasn’t that long ago I typed really similar words about FluterDog here on GT. She was diagnosed with the illness that claimed her six weeks later, and she was gone inside of six months.) For those of you with schedule-heavy jobs away from your family, how do you get back? I’m squeezing the opportunities out of summer, but it’s pretty hard to live any kind of life during the school year. (Dad refuses to use a smartphone, so Skype and FaceTime are out. We live 10+ hours away and I’m not convenient to an airport.)
  • Dad doesn’t do feelings. He gets visibly, physically uncomfortable and has been known to leave the conversation (phone) or room if you try to tell him you love him or that you like something specific about him (and honestly, if you try to thank him for something insanely nice, like researching used cars because you mentioned you might need to replace your vehicle) and he’s the sort who shuts down most things which make him uncomfortable. How do you communicate the important stuff in life without scaring away the gunshy?
  • In happier news, FluterDude is in the process of physically moving from His Town to My Town. It’s gonna be ... a bit messy in the house for a bit. We obviously lived together not that horribly long ago but it feels like my current house is full and we’re both a little worried about sharing space and keeping things the cleanliness level and organization level to which I’ve become accustomed. Got any tips for combining households when you’re old, married curmodgeons and not necessarily in the honeymoon phase anymore?
  • In other happier news, since FluterDude is moving here, we’re ... going to be at this job for a bit. (I suppose they could fire me, but I feel like it’s hard to fire someone tenure track, and it’s AWKWARD if their spouse is working in the same department.) So I’m trying to sort out some career stuff. We are not an R1, we are very much a teaching school. I have my eye on moving closer to the former than the latter ... at some point ... so I have a sense of the kinds of (performance heavy) projects I need to do to make that happen. They require a lot of time, commitment, and funding which is not available at my university. I’m cool researching and writing grants, although I need some help figuring out how to find grants when you don’t have a university resource. But it is a teaching institution, and the overachiever in me keeps thinking of other projects that don’t make me a fancier person but do make me a better teacher, and will take similar amounts of work/time. How do you decide? Anybody good at excelling in the required and the optional? This may not be a GT question because it’s super situation-specific, but I feel like I’m spinning out trying to figure out how to help my kiddos while also becoming the professional I want to be someday.

The doc ended with them spreading the ashes of a beloved rescue in their iris bed. I don’t have any irises, and we opted not to keep FluterDog’s ashes. Does that make me an unfeeling asshole? I suppose I would’ve spread them in Kansas where we don’t live anymore. Should I just make them a donation in her name?