The Good
The 3rd ASM Conference on DNA Repair and Mutagenesis in Whistler, BC, Canada, was amazing! Six days of intriguing (for the most part) talks from peers in the field, despite the fact that my work doesn’t necessarily fit in the best with the theme of the meeting. The lab that I’m working in is pretty heavily interested in coordination of repair in general, but I have my own little niche of work in that grand scheme as well.

Whistler in general was beautiful! I was completely out of shape for a good hike up either of the major ski slopes, Blackcomb and Whistler mountains. I did try to take plenty of pictures when I could, despite hardly having the time to a few days. We did get a fair amount of free time, with about 3ish hours every afternoon to squeeze in a lunch and our choice of activities. The best part of the free time activities easily had to be the ZipTrek zip line tour of the Fitzsimmon’s Creek valley, between Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. For being afraid of heights, this was a great way to start breaking that fear!

Unfortunately, I did wear myself a little thin at the conference. I went out every night of the conference, meeting new people and having a few drinks every time. In combination with that and getting up relatively early to make breakfast at 7:30 each morning, I rarely got more than six hours of sleep a night, hardly more than four for the last couple! A wretched but brief cold set in as I was coming back, and I’m thankfully just clearing the remnants of it from my system now as we speak.

The Bad
Holly and I have been married nearly four years now. For the last couple of years, we’ve been steadily recognizing and somewhat trying to deal with problems we’ve had between each other since moving to Buffalo shortly after getting married. Since February of this year, Holly signed us up to go see a couples’ counselor in order to help address some of the issues between us.

Since then, the sessions have helped us to open up and address more issues between each other and realize what we’re trying to achieve from these sessions, but at the same time it’s also opened our eyes up to what we’ve been expecting from each other as partners and reevaluating whether or not the other is really going to meet that goal. Just short of a month ago, Holly broke the news to me that she had come to the realization that she just didn’t think the marriage was going to work out: there were expectations we had of each other and they really weren’t accomplishable without significant changes in each other. At this point in our lives, we don’t think we should have to make sacrifices that great in our core principles for the other, and despite our strong connection, maybe we’ve pushed a good thing that we had (in a great friendship originally) a little farther than we should have taken it. I felt similarly about these issues, but I asked for a few weeks to think it over and ensure that I (and Holly as well) believed this was the best course of action to go forward with.

A week came and went, and then I was in Whistler for another week, and we revisited the subject Monday evening of this last week. After seeing what’s in store for my future as an eventual post-doctorate and potentially even a primary investigator (PI), I couldn’t feasibly see myself gaining any additional time to really work on making things better right now, and Holly was surprisingly pleased with the freedom she felt in my absence. So on those notes, we both felt even more assured in our decision to go forward with a separation/divorce (depending on how complicated NY state makes it for the immediate future). It’s a strange and awkward time now, but we both feel this is for the best for both of us. We have no hard feelings for each other, we’d still like to remain friends and keep in touch, and will strive to try to make this as easy as possible for the other as we carry through with it.

Hopefully plans will pan out at least comparable to what we’re hoping for. This is obviously new for the both of us, so it’s hard to predict just how well we can keep things as close to ideal as possible.

The Ugly
This is going to be one crazy summer. I have already gone to three conferences for the summer. I had plans to go camping randomly throughout the summer, and take day-trips mountain biking in some parks in western New York. Holly had plans to be gone for six to seven weeks for a summer immersion program to fulfill her remaining elective credits for her M.A. at UB. I was going to drive back to North Dakota and drop in for my ten year reunion in late July.

Plans have obviously changed to some extent. I likely won’t get the chance to go camping nearly as much as I would like. I would still like to find some time to take day-trips to go mountain biking at least a couple times this summer. Holly got screwed out (by a lack of communication from UB) of her summer program and will have to instead attend it next summer (thanks Mr. Advisor, we never knew she needed to file a Consortium Agreement in order to study abroad, let alone verify that the credits will transfer). The drive back to Minot, ND, will likely come at a bad time in late July as Holly and I will be looking for our own places to live in and move in to around that time, so the end of the summer is looking particularly grimacing.

Sorry for the surprise to those of you who knew nothing of the qualms that Holly and I were having with each other. It was something I don’t typically speak of due to my nature to try and address things on my own first, although I’m sure some of you reading this already know about this, either through Holly or myself. Hopefully this summer will turn out okay, I’ll still have my good friend (despite losing her as a wife), I’ll find a place to live in and get moved into without too much hassle, and I can get some kickass research done.

*deep breath* Time to get started, I guess!

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