Friday, July 24, 2009

One lucky guy

This is Meredith's husband, Bob, making a cameo appearance on PregnantlyPlump. As you've probably gathered, Mere and Little Elvis are already in Mississippi, while I'm wrapping up work and cleaning up our rental house in Northern Virginia.

There is a John Gorka song called "Gravyland" that starts with the line: "If all my luck ran out tomorrow, I do believe that I have had my share." That's exactly how I feel. I've had more luck and have more in my life -- a wonderful wife, a beautiful son and another boy on the way -- than I could ever deserve. I've been thinking about my charmed existence over the past few weeks in light of the many personal and professional changes going on.

I suppose I can reveal at this point what I've been doing and what I'll be doing in future. For the past 4 years I have worked as assistant weather editor at USA TODAY. If you've picked up a copy of the paper during that time, most likely you've seen some of my work on the back of the A section on the full-color weather page that has become so associated with the USA TODAY brand. However, you don't have to have read a newspaper recently to know that the paper business is going south in a hurry. Fortunately, education is also in my background -- having been a high school teacher in the mid 90s before embarking on my meteorological career. Again, I count myself lucky to have a viable option -- some coworkers in the USA TODAY newsroom and newsrooms across the country have only worked as journalists (oddly enough, I've never even taken a journalism course) and there are precious few job openings in the field.

I'll be teaching high school science and a community college course in Mississippi. I'll be working harder for less money, but know that the move is the right one for my family. This professional change in direction has also spurred me to take care of some unfinished educational business. A decade ago, I left grad school without having completed my masters thesis -- I got an offer for my first full-time TV weather job and answered when opportunity knocked. Now ten years older and wiser, knowing that I need my masters to teach full-time at the community college or college level, I decided to check into what it would take to complete my work. Fortunately, the graduate school took into account my old thesis research as well as my professional work as a broadcast and print/online meteorologist and have approved an extension -- permitting me to receive my masters by writing a paper this fall. What a lucky break! Not only will getting my masters mean more professional opportunities for me, but I hope, down the road, that my twisted tale will show my sons the importance of finishing what one starts -- especially when it comes to academics.

I read somewhere along the way that luck is simply when preparation meets opportunity. Perhaps that is the case for me professionally -- my background is well suited for some opportunities in the field of education. As for the rest of it, meeting Meredith, having Little Elvis, being accepted warmly into Meredith's family and all the rest, I like to think that I'm simply a lucky guy. Now here's hoping my MegaMillions ticket is a winner tonight . . .


Blogger Lainey-Paney said...

"working harder for less money"...dude---I'm a social worker! I know all about it!

And, I think if the whole teaching thing doesn't work out---you've always got a career in youtube comedy with your weather songs. I don't know how well it pays, but it's the intrinsic reward of humoring others that is important, right???

9:50 AM  
Blogger Biscuit said...

Well, even if the lottery doesn't pay out today - I think you are a big winner. I happen to LOVE your weather musicals, and I know your future students will too. (Teaching is incredibly rewarding, and I hope you enjoy it. I think you will be wonderful!)

11:46 PM  
Blogger Stew Swanson said...

You have been making your own "luck" since before you could walk. You still have that spark inside that makes you look at each day as a new adventure. LE gets that from you. I think you learned the patient teaching from David.
Grandpa Stew

1:37 PM  

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