Woke this morning out of dreams about airplane travel to find Kate, eyes open, looking at me. I pulled my earplugs out and asked her if she was trying to use MIND BEAMS on me. (Lucy frequently uses a focused stare, coupled with MIND BEAMS, to get us to open a door for her.)
“No,” she said, “I’m just laying here listening to the scratching on the door.” Score one for earplugs! I heard nothing!
We got up early, as we usually do on mornings when Kate’s got to leave for work by 7. As we got out of bed, someone I’m married to (not naming names) sang a line from “Lovers in a Dangerous Time,” which promptly latched itself onto my ears and forced me to go buy and download the Barenaked Ladies’ version. By the time she was out of the shower, I had the stereo cranked up, tea on the stove, and Ed and Steve belting out:
Don't the hours grow shorter as the days go by We never get to stop and open our eyes One minute you're waiting for the sky to fall The next you're dazzled by the beauty of it all Lovers in a dangerous time Lovers in a dangerous time
These fragile bodies of touch and taste This fragrant skin, this hair like lace Spirits open to the thrust of grace Never a breath you can afford to waste
Lovers in a dangerous time Lovers in a dangerous time
It’s a lot easier to get up early when the sun’s already up; it makes appreciating the morning quiet a lot more pleasant. During the winter, getting up at 6:00 feels like getting up at 3 – I have to drag myself out onto the cold floor. When the sun’s up and the birdsongs outside are doing their skipping-record repeats, getting up early feels like a treat: like seeing the world before it puts on its makeup.
We’re talking more and more about our imminent next steps, both privately and publicly. Upromise has always been really awful about announcing people’s departures, so I’ve been explicitly seeding the rumor mill by talking about our plans with everyone I run into at work. After seven years with the same company, the prospect of leaving is a big cocktail of relief, wistful nostalgia, uncertainty, excitement… The missionary zeal which originally drew me to the little startup I joined in 2000 has faded, supplanted by the very real needs of a company wanting to exist and thrive for the long haul. Nobody talks about the Upromise Foundation any more, nor forming a clearinghouse for grants and scholarships for poor families. Instead we talk about making deals with large corporations, customized plans for rewards to test the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, how we can branch out into other savings opportunities: all important things, but hardly the change-the-world stuff that used to inspire us at all-hands meetings. We started out at “We’re going to change the world by getting more kids to college!", moved on to “We’re going to change the world, but first we need to be a financially stable company,” and have now seemingly settled into, “We’re a financially stable company! Now let’s become more financially stable!”
Which is not to say that Upromise is doing anything wrong. This happens to any startup company (Google excepted), and I can’t really fault anyone for focusing on the bottom line – that is how companies succeed or fail, after all. I just miss the zeal.
We’re looking for apartments in Washington Heights and Inwood for August 1st. (It seems very unlikely we’ll get Columbia grad housing.) Kate’s got an interview in two weeks at Columbia-Presbyterian-Morgan-Stanley-whatever. If she likes them and they like her, it’d be an awesomely convenient job location: the hospital and Columbia are a handful of stops apart on the 1-train.
Living in New York will be awesome, I have no doubt. Saying goodbye to friends up here is going to be hard, though, and the prospect of packing up our crap and winnowing ourselves down to what’s going to fit in a teeny apartment makes me want to hurl. We’re committed to starting the process earlier than the last time we moved, in an attempt to reduce the frenzy and angst which we two procrastinators seem to perpetually fall into.
That’ll be June’s task, though. Last night was my first summer’s trip for softserve, today is Cinco de Mayo, I’m about to go off to the first Norwich Farmers’ Market of the season with John and Larissa, tonight’s our neighbor Chris’ birthday: right now, we’re wholly and totally here. It feels great.