life for dummies



It took a few hours for the post-Match Day margarita to wear off, and when it did the initial excitement of moving to Minnesota wore off right with it. Suddenly, we were moving across the country but it was Friday at 8 pm and there was no realtor or leasing agent or mortgage broker or bank or moving company available to help us move forward. Do you have any idea how frustrating that is? Well, frustrating for Y, the grown up of our relationship. My self-appointed Match Day duty was the somewhat less important stuff: to start making a list of restaurants to try, and sign up for Groupon, LivingSocial and all of the other eight billion daily deals in our new city. The internet doesn't just work 9 to 5, THANK GOD.


But honestly, I didn't realize how much I would have to do so quickly -- and how much I'd need to learn to move across the country. What is the Frozen Four? How do you grow things in a climate where lakes are sometimes SOLID? What is it that I'm supposed  to be saying when I say "y'all"? How do you buy a house?


It's been pretty crazy over here. But I still plan to take you guys along for the ride - I just needed a quick break to drink my margarita, take some pictures in Barnes and Noble, and buy a house. Mission accomplished. See you in April?

too excited to sleep

Remember that Disney World commercial where the most adorable children you've ever seen squirmed in their bed the night before their vacation and squealed about how they were too excited to sleep? 


I feel you, kids. During the weeks leading up to Match Day, I've had the night before Disney World jitters. 

When I was in college, my best friend went to Disney World with my family over Christmas break. We had the jitters. We dealt with them by prank calling all of our high school friends.

Unfortunately, that wasn't an appropriate solution to dealing with week-before-Match-Day jitters. I had to find some way to keep busy or I knew I would go insane. 

Y's solution was to watch every single episode of Downton Abbey, re-watch all 4 seasons of Mad Men, and start Breaking Bad from the beginning. Boys have it so easy. I got tired of sitting still after 2 episodes of Downton Abbey, so it was time for a new strategy. 

So I overhauled my blog. Click here to see if you're viewing from a reader. I also updated my "about" page and Y's "about" page (formerly the "the white coat" button). 

Then I decided to change my twitter background, and in the process invented houndstooth.



But this only ate up a few hours. When the chance came up at the perfect time, I volunteered to plan a 1950s housewife themed bachelorette party, which I think will be the standing theme for any event I plan from now on. Show up to my house in an apron, and you'll be good. Just look how adorable the bride, T, was in her costume and you'll be on board. 

I've been trudging through this month's book club book, Love in the Time of Cholera, and helping to plan our next book club meeting. Have you heard of this book, MWF Seeking BFF?



 I -- in my manic, productive state-- contacted Rachel Bertsche, the author, and arranged for her to join our April book club meeting via Skype. I can't wait to share that book club experience with you guys!

A project for work/school that I've been slowly planning since August is picking up momentum, and suddenly I'm finding myself at Starbucks working diligently before and after work. LSU ruined me, people. After cramming for nearly every test in college in a coffeeshop, I can't concentrate anywhere else. 


What I've learned from the last two weeks is that if something exciting were happening at the end of every week, I think I could change the world

Are you looking forward to anything this weekend? Perhaps me not talking about Match Day anymore?

Interview trail: a bonus note

(This winter, Y traveled around the country interviewing for a residency position. I've been writing about his travels. For more notes from the interview trail, click here.)


Today was the day we found out whether Y matched. Not where he matched, just whether or not he actually has a spot somewhere.


I've been waiting for this day for months. 


Not because I was worried about Y matching. I knew he would.(He did.)


I've been waiting for this day because Y told me that as soon as he found out he had a place somewhere, I could tell you this story:





It was a rainy, almost snowy, day in December and Y was at an interview in Pennsylvania. Not just any interview - an interview at one of the most prestigious programs in the country. It was just after this infamous night (to recap: flight delayed 4 hours; arrives at hotel at midnight to find he has no bed), and despite the less than optimal sleep he was on his game. Ready to impress.


The doctor conducting the interview looked down at his file. "You're from Louisiana, I see. Where else have you interviewed?" Y ticked off the list he had gotten so used to reciting.


The doctor nodded. "What made you interview at places so far from home?"


Y was relieved. He liked it when the questions were about his desire to experience something different from the South. He enjoyed sharing his love of travel. He had his answer fully prepared, but played it cool.


"I just, you know. I just wanted to spread my legs."


Silence. 




Shit, he thought, I played it too cool. 






And that's why I don't think we'll be moving to Philadelphia. 

just another post about match day

I get a lot of questions about how many job offers Y has gotten, which one he'll take, etc, etc. 


No, no. 


Apparently word hasn't gotten out that matching into a medical residency is less like applying for a job, and more like pledging a sorority or fraternity. Let's examine this theory:



Step one, in both cases, is the official Deactivation of the Facebook Page. No one can know about that time they wore a bow tie and posed with a Shake Weight. 



Then, whether it's Rush or Interview Season, they travel from place to place in a  short time span, dressed in their finest. In Greek life, the places are houses, situated several yards away from each other in a row. In medical life, the places are hospitals, situated around the country. In both situations sensible shoes are advisable.


The applicants/potential new members attend several events -- pink lemonade parties, grand rounds -- where they make conversation and imagine themselves fitting in with the house/hospital. 


Then, they must make one of the most important decisions of their lives. Thoughtfully, they craft a list of their top 10 (or 3, or 5, or 15) places they visited to be turned in by a designated time. Potential new members of sororities and fraternities get a few days to think about this; medical students get several weeks. 


Meanwhile, the residency programs and active sorority/fraternity members are making their own top whatever lists based on criteria like board scores and bubble writing. (I'm sure sororities look at more than handwriting, but can we discuss how sorority girls have perfect handwriting and I am doomed to be forever inferior?)


When the medical students and the residency programs turn in their rank lists, a far away computer performs some kind of algorithm developed by an economist at Harvard. I'm not sure how it works on Bid Day - perhaps the computer has a part-time gig during its off season?



Match Day is approximately one month after the students and residency programs submit their rank order lists. Every graduating medical student in the country finds out where they matched at noon eastern on March 16th. (Some fourth year medical students find out their matches in private, this post explains how Y's school does it. )


I've never been to a bid day, but I imagine it's similar...but pinker. 


See the similarities? Apparently it's confusing for everyone involved - the social committee at Y's school is throwing a post-match party and accidentally used a leftover theme from a sorority party: Devils and Angels. How embarrassing.


----


After the medical students find out where they matched, med school still isn't over. It doesn't officially end until graduation day on May 26th. If you're wondering how medical students spend their final days before actually being employed, stay tuned. It involves a lot of sleeping. And in our house, a lot of Downton Abbey.




bid day photo via

match day nightmares

I've had some disturbing dreams this week. Last night I was pick-pocketed in Italy. The night before, I was held at gunpoint at a mall. While the gun was to my head, I closed my eyes and tried to relax with yoga breaths, and when I opened them I was staring at the ceiling in my bedroom. I guess you could say yoga saved my life.



By far the most disturbing dream, though, was one that stemmed from my chronic lateness in sending birthday gifts. You see, I love giving gifts. But I'm always convinced there's something better out there; that I'm not giving the perfect gift. So I wait for the perfect thing to come along. The birthday/occasion passes. I keep waiting. Eventually I realize it's September and the birthday was in June and I get flustered and send what I initially thought about sending in May. 

I've had a birthday present for my nephew (birthday June first) sitting under my desk for at least a month. In my disturbing dream, something happened to the gift and I was never able to give it to him. I told him this, and assured him that I owed him a HUGE favor.

Turns out, (we're still in dreamland here) he ended up needing a favor. A really big one. As is the nature of dreams, I can't remember anything about it except that I had to do it and it was during.... match day. 

I woke up sweating. Mind you, I wasn't sweating after being stolen from in Italy. I wasn't sweating after my shopping trip turned near death experience. 

And here's the thing: my dreamland favor didn't prevent me from going to match day. Whatever it was, it only prevented me from having a picture taken of my reaction when Y announced his match. 

And not having my picture taken during match day was apparently enough to strike sweaty, nightmarish fear in my heart. 

Pretty sure I need to calm down.

(But you better believe I sent my nephew his birthday present today.)

a change of plans


We had a plan.


Okay, sort of. We had as much of a plan as you can in our interesting little situation. Y was going to specialize in emergency medicine (and possibly go into space). He was going to do an away rotation in Baltimore. He thought his chances of actually getting in there were pretty high.

So my brain did the only thing it knew how to do: it created a life in Baltimore. Maybe I would take the train into DC and work. On my days off, I would take Ike and we would comb the state of Maryland for the best crab cakes. My nieces and nephews would come visit me and I would be their fun yet educational aunt who took them to the Spy Museum but only after a visit to the Capitol.

Hello, fun yet educational aunt.


Y would... work. On his days off we would go to baseball games or take Ike on walks on the harbor. Or maybe Y would just sleep.

But then Y did the unthinkable: he switched specialties.

First he decided he was interested in a super specialized emergency medicine/ internal medicine program. There were only 5 in the country that met his criteria. One was in Baltimore, so I kept our Baltimore life active in the back of my head. But suddenly, there were 4 very specific other places we could live. Chicago. North Carolina. Richmond. Brooklyn.

New York hadn't been on our radar before. We weren't even considering it. But for one minute I let myself imagine what our lives would be like in the city. One morning, while crossing a busy street near my work, I even practiced the face I would make when Y announced "SUNY at Brooklyn!" on Match Day. I think it looked like a mixture of hipster wannabe and flat broke.


Or maybe it looked like this, at the thought of having to cross the Brooklyn Bridge again.

But that specialty was fleeting. After a slight existential crisis, Y is now set on internal medicine. The thing about internal medicine? There are programs everywhere. Baltimore isn't on top anymore. Goodbye, crab cakes. Hello cheese steaks. Hello Chicago dogs. Hello Grand Ole Opry. Hello clam chowda and cannolis. Hello Space Needle. Hello Stumptown coffee.


Cheesesteak, cannoli, chicago dogs.

I can't keep up with my thoughts these days. Neither can my stomach, because apparently most of my hypothetical future lives involve food.

Yes, this can be annoying. For example: Besides the fact that I think my brain is running out of juice, I would love to buy a bike. But do I want a bike for occasional, leisurely use or an everyday bike in case we move somewhere bike friendly where I could ride to work? Only time will tell. Time being approximately 224 days, 7 hours, 41 minutes and 13 seconds according to Mrs. Dr. D's countdown.

These are tough problems, people.

But in spite of this annoyance, I kind of want to relish in the moment. How often will we get the chance to daydream about moving [almost] anywhere we want? Not often.

So I have three questions for you: Where do you live? Why should we consider your city/state? Where would you live if you could choose 1 place in America?




(And yes- Y is placing importance on other things than the city and its food culture-- like the strength of the program, and of course, whether he gets a sense that he likes the hospital after he visits. )