It's not always gonna be this grey
Friday, Apr. 09, 2021 - 8:23 pm.

I have a flute of champagne next to me, after finishing our Friday night date-ish with Andrew. We always look forward to ending the weekend with nice food and bonding and either listening to music or watching something. I'm so lucky to have him as my home.

Unlike past entries, I can say this week was quite eventful.

It started on a very sour note, though, my dad had one of his "fits". My mom broke down and wrote to her five children asking for help. My dad fell (or made himself fall) from the bed and spent the whole day on the floor, unwilling to get up or drink anything. When my mom, instructed by my medical doctor Brother #2, went to tell my dad that he might need dialysis to treat his dehydration, my dad barked back at my mom that she shouldn't threaten him.

I spent that day (Monday? Tuesday?) unable to focus and aching for my mom. I called her. We all know my dad needs psychiatric help, we've known forever, but you can't do much with someone like him, who gets verbally aggressive and thinks he's being called crazy. I don't know if a psych appointment will come out of this horrible episode. We all said it can't happen again, my mom cannot go through this again, but my dad has to want this, and so far he is a dead weight and makes excuses and lashes out at just about anybody.

Brother #3 and Nephew #2 moved my dad to the bed until the evening, when the two of them, along with my sister, where able to show up at my parents' house. Not an effort on my dad's side to pull his own weight, not even to move a muscle. I want to cry out of anger just remembering that. I'll say it again and again, I want my mother to be free.

His episode passed the next day. He felt better and blamed everything on a medicine he takes. I know he suffers a lot, in his own way. But fuck him.

The day after that, we got news that my parents could finally get vaccinated. Things in this regard are chaotic and shady in my home country, but long story short, my parents are getting the vaccine next week, and so is Brother and sister-in-law #3. My good friend Virginia has already been vaccinated too. The latter two work at the same university, and people in health and education are currently up for vaccination (the first ones were "frontline workers" from the army and the police, shocker).

My other two brothers, who are medical doctors, and my two sisters-in-law are also already vaccinated. This is not a guarantee that we're totally safe; Brother #2 was telling us about this 30-year-old patient of his who got covid twice, the second time after the vaccine, and he still ended up in the ICU this second time. Fucking hell. But the vaccine is still good news! It's still protection and relief.

I'm heartbroken for my sister and her son, Nephew #2. She's an independent worker and he's turning 25 next week. He is currently neither studying nor working because he was on his social service year before graduation when the pandemic hit. I've researched a bit (formally, as part of my job) on the effects on the pandemic and I feel sorrow for young people who were in the middle of growing up when the world came to a halt.

My first nephew and niece thankfully are a few years older than Nephew #2 and already had jobs and/or graduated (vaccinated, too!). My two younger nephew and niece are in middle and elementary school, respectively. Still rough for them, but the fifth kid, Nephew #2, is majorly stuck in life right now. I want to cry and get him out of there.

We remain hopeful. My sister is in good spirits, and I think they're both safe enough, health-wise and financially. And they have the rest of us, my parents and my siblings. Plus, my sister is 50(!) and so she may be elegible soon for the vaccine. So for now I just celebrate that a good portion of my family will have been vaccinated by next week.

It's not always gonna be this grey, as good ol' George Harrison sang.

I don't know when my turn will be here, they're vaccinating by age groups and they're still servicing older adults. It's fine. I do wish I could go out, Andrew too, but we remain in a comfortable home, we get along beautifully, we work from home, and we earn enough to keep us and our cats warm and have fresh fruit and vegs delivered to our door every week.

What does concern me is how unfulfilled Andrew is, how precarious his job is. One of these days he was so down I thought he was gonna break in tears over breakfast. He realized his postdoc "scholarship" ends next year and no real opportunities are coming up. He doesn't have a contract and usually needs to be in a bunch of projects. He earns a monthly salary but has not benefits at all. He works for uni but it's kind of like he isn't.

Just then it hit me. When we were returning from the UK, he got offered a real job at another university, a real career, and we turned it down. I say we because I refused to live in the desert; he didn't want to either, I know, but I was very vocal. I've been to that city twice, and it's nice to visit, and hey, it's by the sea! but I'd cry everyday at the sad sight of the dunes and I'd miss the rain. The city itself isn't that pretty either.

I say it hit me because I realized Andrew would've probably taken the job if I didn't dislike that place so much. He'd have security. He'd have more freedom to choose projects. He'd be recognized for the skillful researcher and academic that he is and he'd be paid accordingly.

I felt, I feel really guilty. All I could do that day that he was so down was order coffee and cake for an after-lunch treat. He was surprised and appreciated it a lot. That coffee was amazing, by the way. It lifted our spirits for the rest of the day. It tasted like the one we used to buy around the corner from the Psych Department in Sheffield, in a tiny little shop called Flavour and Grace; I think the place closed down due to the pandemic :(((. Andrew almost started to cry when he tasted this coffee, and so did I.

I'm grateful that he doesn't resent me over passing on that job, though I know he doesn't like to remember that he was offered that opportunity. I pray that a proper job comes his way. Academia is ruthless and exploitative, and skill isn't that important; I'm brilliant, mind you, but I only have a contract with uni because my boss used her name to fight for me. I feel so angry and heartbroken for Andrew. This precariety cannot be this way forever.

On happier news: We had our first meeting with the social worker for the adoption! Things are going slowly, but they're going.

More happy news: One of Andrew's closest friends and his wife are moving back to this city, after living in the capital for years. We went to Iceland with them, exactly this week two years ago (unbelievable). And they're adopting, too! They started the process later than us, but I smile at the chance that our kid will have a friend with a similar background, so it might be easier for them to feel that being adopted is more normal and valid.

Ok, this is getting long. Lastly: I did not talk to my girlfriend last Saturday. She was down over issues unrelated to me, so I kept quiet. It's a good thing I did because that same night her father fell and broke his arm. She spent the weekend at the hospital, all stressed out, paying up big money and changing life plans (he was going to move to Canada with her and her sisters the moment the airlines resumed the route from my home country this month). Since I kept quiet, I was not a concern for her. I'm glad I was able to support her, even if just by sending her silly cartoons of mine.

Yesterday, without telling me, she stopped by my parents' house to give them a bunch of avocados. It's a random thing to do, but you can see why I love her a lot. I mean, she'd asked beforehand if it was OK if she got them avocados from her yard (or some family member's yard), I just didn't know when she'd do it.

My mom, after having had a rough week with my dad, was really happy to have someone visiting and invited her to come in. Helen was in a rush but made plans with them to visit them next week, probably before they get vaccinated. And today she got my mom a gift, hand cream or something. Helen said she's just getting my mom what she couldn't get hers (her mom passed away from cancer a few years ago), so it's all just very sweet and it makes me tear up. I wanted to be there for my mom and here Helen is, looking after her for me.

So I still have to talk to her about feeling burned out, but I don't want to leave her. We're good for each other. She's very sensible and understanding, so we'll probably reach an agreement on how to go on with this relationship.

OK, I've talked a lot! I still have a couple of things to discuss, about my bruised ego regarding my literary output and my very exciting research project starting this week, but that can wait.

Take care of yourself, get the vaccine if you can, and if you already have, don't let the guard down! Stay safe.

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