almost seven

I apparently haven't written a blog post since the one I wrote the week Lucas was born. Sharayah's been holding down the fort, but it looks like it's time for me to pull my weight. So here we go.

I guess lots of things have happened. Lucas is growing all the time. He's the coolest kid we know. His pictures are all over the face book, so you may have seen them. It seems like every week he learns some new thing. Right now he's on the verge of crawling. He can already make his way around pretty well by dragging himself along on his belly (which some might say is already crawling), but he also gets up on his hands and knees and tries to move forward with comical results. Once he's up on his hands and knees, he just sways forward and back in quick succession as though he's willing himself forward but he just can't seem to go anywhere. Usually he topples pretty quickly as soon as he manages to lift one of his limbs to move it forward. He's also sampling various foods. His facial expressions would imply that he hates everything we've given him, but he always tries to get more of it until we stop feeding him, so he apparently just has his yummy and yucky faces mixed up. He makes all kinds of great noises (his voice is like music) and he's learning more consonants. He started with a really guttural g, moved on to a normal g, and has since added m, b, and sometimes what sounds like h, w, and k. Today he said "mama" pretty clearly (although he also clearly didn't know what it meant). I'm still trying to teach him to make d sounds. He laughs at us all the time. I think he's starting to have his own little personality, and he seems to be happy almost always. We're very blessed with probably the best baby there's ever been. He's so great and we love him like crazy. Being a dad is definitely every bit of life-changing that I thought it would be.

Dissertation writing was brutal. I don't know why I didn't have any posts from October to December, but I know January and February were wholly dedicated to my dissertation. Even though all of the research was already done, and most of it was already written up in one of the papers I've been a part of, compiling it all into one self-contained, cohesive work was an absurd amount of work. We have Lucas on a lovely sleep schedule where he goes to bed around 7 or 7:30 and sleeps at least until midnight, sometimes a couple hours more. For those two months, as soon as he was down I worked on my dissertation until sometime between midnight and 3am. Add to that teaching and being a dad during the day, and you get a very exhausted me. I'm very happy with the result, but it totally beat me down. Still, in the end I persevered, and after a couple weeks I was pretty well recovered from the lack of sleep. I'll defend the dissertation at the end of the month, and then apparently I'll be a doctor, so feel free to message me asking for medical advice. That's how it works, right?

Another thing keeping me busy from November through February was applying to jobs. I don't know if I can really explain how applying for jobs in academia works, but I can tell you (based on things that various people said to me during that time) that probably anyone who hasn't done it has no idea what it's like. It's very different from the regular job market. You can't really pick a given area and have any real hope to get a job there, since most places don't have that many schools, and there are hundreds of people applying to pretty much every school. One school said in their very friendly "we did not choose to interview you" email that they had over 650 applicants. So there were at least 650 other math PhDs looking for jobs this year and way fewer than 650 universities that had openings in math. At any rate, I applied to over a hundred all over the country, eventually ended up with a few interviews, and finally got two job offers, one of which I accepted today. So, I have a job for the indefinite future. I will be the newest math professor (using professor informally, because it's an actual job rank that takes at least 10 years to reach) at Missouri Baptist University just west of St. Louis. I even got them to agree to give me a prime number for my salary (once we agreed on a salary [which, of course, was a boring round number], I asked if we could raise it to the next prime number, which happened to be very close, so they agreed). We'll be moving there sometime this summer. We're very excited to be moving on to this next stage in our lives.

It's been almost seven years since Sharayah and I got married. In that time she has ever-so-patiently waited for me to finish a Masters and now a PhD. She's endured the college life and the apartment living and the "where are we going to live five years from now" uncertainty for far too long. Finally, after almost seven years (I defend my dissertation mere weeks before our anniversary), I'm finishing up and we're putting down roots (although I'll still be at a college...). Here's to ten more sevens!