Print Story The five year thing
Diary
By lm (Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 05:11:13 PM EST) (all tags)
Five years ago, I was working for a small tech company whose owner believed in helping people achieve their goals and let me work short hours and take classes at the university on my "lunch" break so that I could make myself more attractive to grad schools.

Now, I'm working for a small tech company whose owner believes in helping people achieve their goals and lets me work short hours so that I work on my grad degree.

There are some pretty significant differences between then and now. Most of those I can't talk about. Or, rather, won't talk about on the Internet.



The significant differences that I can talk about:

The fairly tight knit circle of friends we had back in Cincinnati five years ago became strewn to the four corners of the world. Well, not really the world, but at least the four corners of the US. Something similar had happened when we lived in Dayton, OH. The only difference is that in Dayton, we were the last man standing. In Cincinnati, we were third to last. But the last two moved shortly after we did.

That move we made, which was almost three years ago, (with 'we' being me, my wife, and my two daughters) was from Ohio to Maryland just across the border from DC. In fact, on my morning runs, once I'm one block south of our apartment, I'm in DC proper.

My eldest daughter is about to go off to college.

My eldest daughter also hates me and everything I stand for. Or maybe not. Depends on which day it is. Or maybe which hour of which day it is. Most of the time I find this amusing. It's pretty typical teenage angst. Her hate and anger, at least as expressed, seems pretty mild compared to what I remember from those awkward and awful years. Being a teenager is hard stuff. You've outgrown most of childhood but you're not yet an adult. Consequently, you're kind of stuck in limbo and have a hard time relating to anyone, especially your parents.

My youngest daughter is about to hit high school. She's just starting to develop that snarky teenage attitude that her sister has had going on four years or so.

I'm not the sole bread-winner anymore. My wife, formerly retired on disability, now has a full time job. (For those that don't know, she has SMA Type II, a form of muscular dystrophy. She never walked and is technically a quadriplegic. She does have limited use of one arm. After the birth of our first child, she spent three months in the hospital, most of the time on a ventilator after getting a tracheotomy. After that she was prone to pneumonia and kept missing oodles of work. Finally, she gave up on the work thing, filed for SSDI and did the stay at home mom thing for fifteen years.) She rides the para-transit to get back and forth from work. You can catch the more amusing of her tales at her blog: My Life on the Short Bus

It's been almost three years (pretty much the exact amount of time that we've been in Maryland) since anyone aside from our nuclear family has lived with us. In a way, this is liberating. I can walk around in my shorts and a wife-beater with impunity. In another way, it makes our home seem rather empty. I find myself daydreaming that we'll win the lottery so that we can afford to buy a small house.

Speaking of houses, five years ago I was paying mortgages on four different properties. Two of those, I had inherited (jointly with my sister) when my father died. One was the first house my wife and I had ever bought. One was the house we lived in. Two of those houses are sold, the ones jointly owned with my sister. One is sort of sold, we're playing bank and holding a private mortgage to a couple that would not qualify for any sort of mortgage in the commercial world. The other we still own because we can't get rid of. All of which are money-losing propositions, at least once one considers the amount of time and materials I've poured in.

And that just about covers it for changes that can be publicly discussed. As mentioned in this comment, I'm no longer absurdly miserable in a ludicrously unsustainable fashion. But why I was miserable and why I'm no longer miserable in such a fashion probably isn't something I'm ever going to put up in the blogosphere.

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The five year thing | 17 comments (17 topical, 0 hidden)
You seem to have rigid parenting standards. by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #1 Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 06:37:23 PM EST
My teenaged self would've been pissed at you too. Oh, well. They'll thank you later, I suppose.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

Rigid in some ways by lm (2.00 / 0) #2 Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 06:40:19 PM EST
But, just for the record, I tried to talk my eldest out of going to college. It didn't work. She wants to go to college. That's entirely her choice.

There are a lot of events like that in the lm household.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
"Reverse psychology" moments? by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #3 Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 06:53:21 PM EST
It seems to have worked for you.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
It's not reverse psychology by lm (2.00 / 0) #4 Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 07:44:37 PM EST
In general, I think straight out of high school is too young to go to the university. Most people, including my eldest daughter, would benefit from doing something else for a few years and then going to college if they're still interested.

She doesn't see it that way.

Which isn't that big of deal. It makes it harder in some ways. For example, she'd have quite a few more resources for going to college if she were independent rather than living with her parents. But that's that route she wants to take. So, to the extent that she wants my help, I'll help her out.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
I agree with your daughter. by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #5 Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 09:50:55 PM EST
I don't know if I've ever mentioned this, but I turned down a full-ride Chem. E scholarship to Harvey Mudd when I was an idiot teenager and in spite of attending college here and there since then, I've regretted my decision every day. One size does not fit all, for sure.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
You're both wrong by anonimouse (2.00 / 0) #6 Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 03:54:43 AM EST
I don't know if you can do something similar in the US, or even if you can do it in the UK anymore but I were doing my University course again, I would try and take my degree over 4 years instead of 3 combined with sponsorship from a company.


Girls come and go but a mortgage is for 25 years -- JtL
[ Parent ]
Only 3 years? by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #7 Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 05:40:18 AM EST
Well, that would explain why every swinging dick in the UK has a college degree.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
Well, England, Wales & Northern Ireland by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #8 Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 07:35:18 AM EST
Scotland has 4 year undergraduate degrees.

[ Parent ]
well by Merekat (2.00 / 0) #9 Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 07:40:26 AM EST
They start pre-degree specialisation in only 3-4 subjects as young as 16.

[ Parent ]
(Comment Deleted) by mellow teletubby (2.00 / 0) #10 Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 08:11:01 AM EST

This comment has been deleted by mellow teletubby



[ Parent ]
One would hope that was true. by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #14 Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 09:21:23 AM EST
But I imagine that the proportion of people going to university will remain equal to the proportion of people gaining 5 GCSEs (grade A*-C) at age 16 for some while yet. Which is to say that people will continue to get degrees regardless of whether they can make use of them.

[ Parent ]
The same is pretty easy in the US by lm (2.00 / 0) #13 Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 08:54:35 AM EST
A cousin of mine finished her undergrad at George Washington in 3 years.

A four year or longer  time line is mostly a function of will (or lack thereof) or disorganization (most likely on the part of the school, but possibly on the part of the student).


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
I was thinking by garlic (2.00 / 0) #16 Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 01:00:40 PM EST
it'd have been hard to finish my engineering undergrad in < 3.5 years, but than I remembered I took no summer classes. Not that any were necessarily offered.


[ Parent ]
summer courses not being offered by lm (2.00 / 0) #17 Fri Mar 18, 2011 at 07:59:13 AM EST
That sort of thing was primarily what I had in mind. Most US universities seem to want students to take at least four years.  But sometimes, it's even worse than not offering requisite courses at non-traditional times. One university I was at, I knew people who were going on 6 years for their BA or BS because either the courses they needed simpy weren't being offered or there weren't spaces left in the courses after the athlete/honors/etc. students registered and registration was opened to the general student population.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
I'm not certain what you mean by sponsorships by lm (2.00 / 0) #12 Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 08:51:00 AM EST
Most US universities have internship or coop programs where students alternate working in the field with academic studies. Is that the sort of thing you mean?

If one views the university as a place for developing technical skills in a specific discipline, that view makes quite a bit of sense.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
I'm not trying to suggest a universal rule by lm (4.00 / 1) #11 Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 08:46:05 AM EST
Only that most kids that go straight into college after high school aren't really ready to be educated at the collegiate level.

Perhaps not so much for technical and trade schools.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Most of the time I find this amusing. by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #15 Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 03:18:17 PM EST
Which she probably finds even more infuriating...

I went right to college from high school, and promptly ( over 2 years. On Dad's nickel) flunked out. Then did the Army, then went back to school.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

The five year thing | 17 comments (17 topical, 0 hidden)