Thursday, April 13, 2006



*pant, pant, pant*



*blink, blink, blink*

There. Better.

Our Scene: The kitchen, lunchtime, today. A lovely warm, spring day. Lots of chirping of the birds, sunshine, flowers blooming. The sort of scene, were it in a movie, that would portend Something was about to Happen.

The phone rings.

Diana: "Hello?"

Charles: (Sounding a bit strange, dare we say 'strained'? Not quite himself at any rate.) "Hi, Honey."

Diana: (Very suspicious) "What's up?"

Charles: "Guess who just called?"

Diana: "Ummmmm......ummmmmm.....mmmmm. No idea." Can't even come up with a wise-ass guess.

Charles: "U of W."

Diana: "............ No. ...... Really? ........ No. They didn't. They did?"

Charles: (sounding bewildered or befuddled or bemused or all 3) "They did."

Now, there's something I've kept from most of you. At least I don't think it's made it to the blog. See, when we moved out here from points West, looking for the life less crazed, Charles was thisclose to finishing his doctorate in education at Portland State University. He'd done all the course work, passed his comps and had his proposal for his dissertation accepted. His data was basically gathered. All he needed was to finish the last 100 or so pages of the monster, revise it, and successfully defend it. Probably about 6 months of work, all told. The plan was to finish it out here, communicate with his committee via the internet, and fly back to do his defense.

Well, his first job here was working as one of the district central office administrators in a job that basically required 60+ hour weeks. He learned a lot of law and a lot of politics. The last 2 months of it, he served as interim principal for one of the grade schools whose principal left, on top of it all. The second year, he changed jobs to become the middle school principal of a school in crisis. Let's just say he was very busy, shall we, and that the dissertation sat, unfinished. About 2 years or so ago, we moved, partly because he had his eye on transferring to the PhD program at U of Wisconsin in Madison, the #3 school in the country in his area of interest. Tuition is much cheaper if you are a Wisconsin resident. MUCH cheaper. Plus, we are Wisconsin folk. Liberal to a fault. We just don't fit in with all the nice republicans down in rural Illinois.

He applied to the program last year and was told he was #1 on the waiting list. Apparently no one who was accepted declined their spot, and we mulled over whether or not he should apply again this year. Figuring the odds were good that the #1 alternate would stand a chance the following year, he did re-apply this winter. And about a month ago, got the standard rejection letter.

OK. Fine. Done. He and I made our peace, he planned out how to get to where he wanted to be in 1 year, 5 years, 10 years, and so on. I secretly felt relieved, as with him working in Freeport and being a full time grad student in Madison for about 4 years, well, let's just say, he might as well move to Antarctica for all we'd see him. He was disappointed but relieved, too.

That's where the phone call comes in.

He's been offered a spot in their program. Once again, it's The #3 Program in the Nation. You don't turn that down.

So, now we're spinning. He has not formally accepted. The letter offering the spot is being mailed out as we speak. It may even be here tomorrow, the way the mail works around here. He needs to do this. The doors this opens are amazing. He's always, ever since he was a little undergraduate student in knickers and knee socks, wanted to go into politics. This places him in the state capital in a kick-ass program. We also realize that there's no way he can stay in the job he's in and do this, at least not without special dispensation, which probably won't happen. It also means the jobs he has been looking at aren't what he needs to look at and the ones he passed by, are suddenly up his alley.

Our placid little world is suddenly upside down and we're just reeling a bit. There's a lot to plan.




Anonymous Ariella said...

Congratulations to him! I guess this means you might be living closer to us at some point in the future! Rest assured, we do love guests over for dinner. :)

I am interested to know what you guys end up doing. Do you think you'd move to Madison and you could practice there? Or do you prefer working the type of hours and job you have now? ooooo, I am so excited for you.

4:25 PM  
Blogger Jamie said...

Eeeeeeeeeeek! Oh, man, what a thing to deal with. Amazingly good, and yet...whew, I dunno.

But you all have to work it out somehow so he can follow his dream, yes?

4:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How exciting for both of you!
I wish him, and you, happy days and the best of luck!

4:55 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

Ariella- Ooop. Nope. Not moving again. We're only about 30-40 minutes from campus, so here we'll stay. I could easily practice anywhere, but the job I have is so very marvelous that I'll move mountains to keep it. That's what made where we're living now perfect. He can commute one way, I can drive the other.

This doesn't get you out of dinner, however...

Jamie- You said it. You'd think that we'd have had all this planned out when he applied, but I don't think we really felt it would happen for some reason. Good thing we have 6 months to sort everything out. Oh, yes. He's following this damn dream.

4:57 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

Amy- Thanks! Gulp.

4:58 PM  
Blogger moegirl said...

Congrats to Charles...I know he has had a long interest in politics.

I hope it all works out optimally for the whole family when the dust settles. Its just settling that dust. Damn dust!

5:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How wonderful! Congrats. to Charles - and a big hug for you. What a dilemma. Seems I had these same reactions every time I decided to take that next step in my education, too. Do I do it and spend another 2 - 4 years with my head in the books or do I give up a dream. I chose the books and it paid off. I followed my dream and I have no regrets, and I think I would always have had that nagging wonder "could I have done it" if I hadn't tried. Yes, it is several years worth of juggling and struggling but what a great role model for the kids as they venture into their own world of academics. Set goals and timetables and plan for some FUN along the way. And if Charles needs a couple of weeks alone to write you know we would welcome you with open arms.


6:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen to what C just wrote. I know that my graduate work was really inspirational to you and your sister--I was the first graduate graduate, you the first doctorate graduate and she the first with 3 degrees (AA, BS, MBA) graduate. Yes it is worth the work for the personal rewards at the end. He has been pointing for this eversince I met him. Just let us know how we can be of help.

The Ole RF-ing Dad

6:41 PM  
Blogger Rozanne said...

Wow. Very, very exciting news. I can see why you entitled this post "Tizzy."

Prepare for some sleepless nights while you sort out the logistics.

I got a kick out of this:
"He's always, ever since he was a little undergraduate student in knickers and knee socks, wanted to go into politics."

So, like, since the 1920s?

That sentence conjures up an image of Bertie Wooster in pepper-and-salt knickerbockers, possibly lugging around a bag of golf clubs. Is that how Charles used to dress? I know he's been called a fashion god.

7:24 PM  
Anonymous Colleen said...

WOW! Exciting times in the life of Piffle!

8:35 PM  
Anonymous christie said...

whew, congratulations! (I think?) and good luck!!!! How soon do we get to vote for Mr. Piffle for President???

9:19 PM  
Anonymous Kate W. said...

WOW! Does this mean you have to be grown ups now? That is wonderful and stressful news! I can't wait for THOSE stories!

10:27 PM  
Anonymous Ariella said...

Hey! We love having people over for dinner! :)

I can understand why you didn't plan everything out when he applied. Applying to school is SUCH a crapshoot and there are never guarantees about whether you'll get in fulltime or they'll ask you to go part time or whatever.

When I applied to the MPH program, I didn't expect to get in because my grades in law school were, uh, less than stellar. I did, however, get in and now I'm applying for graduate assistantships (full tuition remission plus stipend) to see whether we'll be able to afford to send me back to school. I'd love to do the program, but I won't do it without the remission plus stipend because we can't afford to live on just Erik's salary.

Is it a four-year program for him? I am SO excited for you guys!

8:22 AM  
Blogger Diana said...

Stacy- I remember you and he spending hours discussing politics and history. I'm really thrilled for him.

Cathy- That's absolutely it. We decided that if he didn't do this, he'd always regret it. He doesn't have to finish it if he absolutely hates it, but he HAS to start it. We just have to figure out how to juggle it all.

Dad- Some would say we are to schooled by half.

Rozanne- I love the Bertie Wooster books. Charles's fashion godliness tends to run to paint-splattered sweats, some of which are 14 sizes too big, and socks with holes. Sadly, he must now wear a tie to work and sometimes a suit.

Colleen- Thank heavens I have the blog, eh?

Christie- That's actually the only job he can't have, as he was born in Canada. We tease him that he has had his eye on 'king', however.

Kate- Nope. I think this actually regresses us. We were nervously eyeing 'grownups' but now get to slide back into 'student'. As we all know, students are never grownups. We're saved.

Ariella- How long it takes depends on how much of his PSU credits they let him transfer. He has a ton. Also, many of his coursework overlaps with getting a superintendent's certification, so he may come out of all this with several extra pieces of paper.

9:04 AM  
Blogger Cagey said...

WOW. That is very cool, exciting and fuh-reakin' scary - all rolled into one!

As someone who is doing the dual-cities thing myself, I can report that it is not that bad. Also, it helps knowing that there is an end date. I think some people view my husband and I as crazy people, but we believe it is worth making short-term sacrifices for long-term hopes and dreams. You strike me as the same sort of people.

Good luck!

10:08 AM  
Blogger Teri said...

Oh my! Oh goodness! I turn my back for a second and...

What wonderful news! Hooray! I can feel your tailspin from here! That's positively thrilling! I'm so excited for you!

2:08 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

Cagey- This is nothing to what you and X are going through. Eventually, he'd end up working in a different town than me. It's just the addition of grad school to his already busy schedule. It's not even a dead cert that he'll be working at a new district next year, it just opens up new possibilities and would be nicer if school and work were not in opposite directions of the compass.

Teri- I know! Crazy, I tell you. Turns out he has to start summer session, not fall, so we have 2 months before the insanity descends. All our summer plans are kaput.

2:22 PM  
Blogger CarpeDM said...

Cool! Very cool! Can he run for govenor (sp?) of Wisconsin and win and then I'll consider moving back there? Or hey, how about Minnesota? Minnesota is cool.

U of W - Madison. Be still my little heart. Speaking of, I do have time off in May but now Beth is trying to get time off. It will happen though!

7:37 PM  
Blogger listmaker said...

Oh, Diana, I so know what you're going through! Congratulations to Charles and best of luck with all your future plans.

9:35 PM  
Anonymous Leigh-Ann said...

I was looking at land in the Madison area for the move I'm pondering, but it was all fairly pricey. When Charles becomes Governor of the state can he appropriate a nice piece of property for me at a decent price? I'll happily vote for him in the monarchy elections in Canada...

I do hope this will all work out for you and that both the experience and the result will be rewarding :)

3:17 AM  
Blogger brooksba said...

First off - Congratulations! I read the other post and now know it is the #1 school, not #3, and want to say, "Wow! Way to go!"

Whatever you and Charles decide, I know it will be for the best. It's a lot to take in, but a huge opportunity at the same time. Wow, wow, wow.

8:55 AM  
Blogger Diana said...

Dana- I hate the thought of that. As a governer's first lady, I imagine I'd have to give teas and hostess events. I'd never make it. May sounds promising!

Listie- At least we don't have to deal with a move, unlike you!

Leigh-Ann- Ooooh, yes. Madison is pricey, but the surrounding rural areas are still affordable, although based on what we're seeing around our village, that's soon to change. Huge, luxury sub-divisions are popping up all around us. Fortunately, our road is protected by the State and the lots can't be subdivided.

Beth- It just all seems a bit overwhelming at this point. One thing's for sure, we won't be seeing as much of him as we'd like.

1:49 PM  
Blogger The Lioness said...

Oh bugger, stupid endometrium et al, look what I've missed! I feel like a right cow now, so sorry I'm too late to the party. But, YEYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And look here, I'd love to seem him as the President, though he'd never make it bcs a) he's not corrupt and b) staying up past 7 pm? Please. But he could be senator! A congressman! Than I could move there just so I could hear myself say "Can't be bothered to write a letter to my congressman, I'd rather bring it up over cheese and wine/coke!"

Oh YEY!!!!!!!!!

9:35 AM  

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