Saturday, June 30, 2007

I'm sorry

I feel like I've been neglecting my blog horribly for the past couple of months. I apologize to my seven loyal readers and thank you all for not abandoning me.

I forgot how much the busy-ness meter goes up when I work full-time. It seems like there aren't enough hours in the day anymore and the house still isn't fully unpacked and there's just too much stuff to try to fit in. That being said, it's still no excuse for neglecting the blog. Time management is the key and after begging you to read and de-lurk and all that, I think it is only fair for me to blog more often.

The next year should be full of plenty to write about. I've been offered and accepted the teaching position at the University. Words don't suffice to express my elation. I have wanted to be a teacher for as long as I can remember. The hours are perfect - 30 hours a week rather than 40. The pay's okay. Not great but for nine months a year, not too bad either. And not much lower than where I am. I'll make up the difference in daycare savings. I'm hoping to do some freelance work and consulting... maybe even more teaching somewhere else to help pay the bills and possibly fund another adoption. I mean I definitely want to do another adoption (2) but have no idea how we'll be paying for it at this time. I'm looking forward to summers off and winter breaks, spring breaks and the whole crazy mess.

Since I accepted on Thursday, I have been wondering about how to structure my courses. I want them to be interesting and challenging but not extremely hard. My goal is to be the instructor who's classes fill up first. Not overly ambitious, eh?

Leave me some comments telling me what makes a great teacher? Who were your favorites and why?

Thursday, June 28, 2007

News on the job front...


Friday, June 15, 2007

Is There Anyone Out There...

'cause its getting harder and harder to breathe!

Wow, what a maelstrom of activity this last two weeks has been. The move was basically a debacle. They brought the teeny tiniest truck - basically the size of the largest U-haul - to move back what a full-sized semi trailer had brought over. And, no, it didn't all fit - they left a large folding table and Paul's handy dandy wall locker behind and I'm still learning whether they forgot to pack up the stuff that is stored in the drawer under the stove. No, it wasn't fun to watch either. They were late both days due to a crazy comedy of errors, I guess. Traffic the first day and a broken scale the next day. Then, it is supposed to be a direct move, right? Check the map, dear seven loyal readers, and tell me whether a direct move from Grand Rapids, MI to Tomah, WI has any business going via Detroit? So our stuff sat in a parking lot in Detroit Wednesday and Thursday before leaving Friday for our Saturday morning delivery. Fabulous. Were it not for the fact my husband realizes the significance of Nitro in my life, I would not be here today. I would be in a nice, calm sanitarium because stupid people sent me there.

Evidently the rules are different for a military move. When you're moving Military families, you use a lot more boxes, can't move things that you could otherwise (like PAM cooking spray), and they can deliver it whenever the hell they feel like it as long as the Requested Delivery Date is met. When we moved over, it was three days. Pack, Load/ Drive, Deliver. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday - and they came back for the boxes. We'll not discuss the option of help unpacking with a corporate move and the complete lack of such assistance with the Military move. We will also not discuss the fact that the Government will buy your house if you're a civilian who opts to move for professional advancement, but if you've got no choice because you're Military, then you're on your own. Forgive me but I think this is BULLSHIT.

The family is doing well. We're adjusting to new routines for daycare and such while Shrek and I continue to do battle about everything! I just want him to keep his hand out of my pocket. The bank needs to close - know what I mean? AND DO NOT CALL ME A FUCKING TWEAK WHEN YOU'RE ASKING ME FOR MONEY! Then his idiot wants child support lowered. Yes, my children are nearly 18 and 20 and I still get support for them. They'll get it until they have a college degree or quit going. It's a 15 year-old agreement that doesn't need to change as far as I am concerned. Christ. I have given Shrek about $850 this month alone and he's pissing about $25? Yesterday Prince Douchebag (Wow, I absolutely love that name! He will hereafter be known as PDB for Prince Douchebag) asked me if we could sit down and set a flat amount for support lower than what he's paying now. I would rather gouge out my eyes with plastic utensils than sit down with him so I foolishly agreed to hear his offer on Saturday at The Queen's graduation party. Poor bastard doesn't know that my answer to any offer will be "What the fuck are you smoking?" I try not to hate anyone but my dislike of PDB is very, very intense. See? I can too be politically correct!

The Queen dismays me solely by requiring me to be parental. Dammit. She's got Freshman Orientation today at my alma mater. Oh how I don't wanna go. But she's making me and I hate her for it. We have, however, outlined which events I will go to and which there is no way I'm doing. I believe the plan is for me to take her there and pick up her welcome packet, skip the next hour and a half, pick her up for lunch, skip the next 45 minutes and accompany her to her advising session. In return she has agreed to take Personal Finance first semester. I'll show her the beauty of an override if I have to in order to get her in that class. I've also shown her how to tune out the "REACH and SHARE" session with the help of her iPod and wearing her hair down because no one's got one on me when it comes to slacking and ignoring people that bore me while not appearing overtly rude. Stealth is key. Besides, I figure if kids can listen to the Packer game during graduation a little iPod action during orientation won't hurt anyone.

On the job front, my head is spinning, spinning, spinning. My dear friends, after languishing for two years with zero or near zero prospects, I have not one, not two but nearly three job offers. That's right, three. The position I accepted in Market Research and nearly turned down after accepting a position with the PX which I will be turning down because of an agreement I'd be required to sign agreeing to move without my children (aka "take an unaccompanied tour") or stating that I am not willing to be mobile and make my prospects for advancement effectively zero and...

Sit down, people. This is some crazy shit.

I applied at the school where I earned my B.S. degree (yes, people, I have a BS degree it's what makes me so good at it) to be a "pool instructor" meaning I'd teach a class or two as the university needed me to in whichever department in the CBA had the need. The day I came to town for the interviews for the other two jobs, I stopped by to deliver a transcript to the Associate Dean (who happens to be my FIN 485 instructor that gave me an "A" and remembers me well) and chat for a bit because I'm like that, you know? Chatty. It was great to catch up and we did talk about teaching and getting a PhD and all that kind of interesting stuff.

Fast forward to the following week when I get an e-mail from the chair of the Marketing Department saying he's got a copy of my resume and he wants to talk to me about teaching in the Marketing Department. "Cool! I'll be in the Pool!" I think. I can teach a night or a weekend class or two and still do one or the other full-time things. It'll be teaching, which I got my Master's to do and a little extra money.

We agree to meet to discuss this further yesterday afternoon. With me so far? I show up for the meeting stressed out because I'd forgotten to get something other than tennis shoes to wear with my twin set and capris. I had no idea how formal this discussion would be or what to expect, mind you. NO CLUE. But I show up promptly at 1:00 and he's wearing jeans and sandals so I relax. And then I freaked the fuck out.

I interviewed for a full-time instructional academic staff position and knocked it out of the PARK people. He wants me for this job and he wants me ASAP. The offer isn't formal yet. He said he wanted to pass it by the other two tenured faculty in the Marketing Department and needed to pass it by an Associate Dean (yes, that Associate Dean - the one who gave him not only my resume but a glowing recommendation) for approval before extending an offer. He said that one of the two faculty members would likely say "If you like her, she's fine by me too" and the other would want to meet. Then he showed me my office. Then the one that would most likely want to meet me walked in and we, uhm, met. I think it went well. This position would be the same pay as the second job offer, a little less than the first, teaching approximately 160 students in two sections each of two different classes. It is an academic year contract meaning summers off unless I'm asked to teach in the summer in which case it'd pay more and full-time academic staff usually works 25-30 hours per week (so 25-30 hours would pay as much as 40 at job number 2 and just a little less than job number 1). W00t! But no formal offer yet so I am wrestling with what to do. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, right? But I'm still thinking "What the hell?" Nothing for two years and now everything!? My dream job is almost in the palm of my hand. It still amazes me.

After spending yesterday afternoon wondering what to do, I decided to decline the second offer in favor of the first - getting the official offer documents made it a very easy choice and hope that if/when the teaching position materializes, we can work something out. The boss there does seem like the kind of person that would understand and I would be willing to stay part-time if they'd let me. Does that seem fair or do I decline both offers waiting for the third one? I could use some advice here and I could use it by 6:00 Monday morning. Thanks!

Monday, June 4, 2007

Moving to Radio Silence

Well, the movers will be here in a couple of hours - 2 or 3, I guess. I don't know whether they're planning on 8 or 9. I hope 9:00 but I really have no clue. The cable guy will be here between 1:00 and 3:00 and it's bye bye internet until Friday morning. But, if my master plan executes correctly, I'll be on my way to the racetrack on Friday so you may languish for a week with no blog entry. Hopefully you'll hang in there.

I'll drop by and update if I can. Peace out.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Solitary Confinement

I'm alone. It is so weird, but I have been home (in Michigan) alone since Thursday. I hate being alone. I'm so used to having kids, cats, and dogs underfoot that all this silence is driving me nearly crazy. Well, maybe not. I'm nearly crazy already.

I'm here to work through the packing, loading and moving on Monday and Tuesday as well as to make sure the house shows at its best for the Open Houses scheduled for today and tomorrow. Today's is over. I suspect that it didn't go well based on the fact that the platter of "sell my house" brownies is still very, very full - like maybe no one at all was here full. I hope tomorrow's is better. Come on St. Joe. Do your thing. Please. Please for the LOVE OF GOD do your thing. But our realtor didn't have the open house noted in her company's website or - as far as I can tell - in the newspaper either. It is only showing as an open house here. Dammit.

The highlight though was being able to go out all by myself. I called up my friend Linda and we agreed we'd go to Festival downtown. Festival is food and music and art work for sale in downtown GR. It rains every year and this year was no exception. The cool part was that before we actually got downtown we stopped at a couple of stores that I normally can't go to. No, dear readers, not that kind of store. These are the kind of stores that don't sell anything the boys would be remotely interested in meaning they're a complete pain to shop with in them. First we went to Spirit Dreams where I bought this mug and another mug that reads "What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?" along with some wonderful aromatherapy candles. Then we went to Global Infusions and I got this awesome teapot.
I'm so excited about this teapot it isn't even funny. It is a 26 oz. pot - just big enough for two mugs of tea. Linda bought it for me as a going away present. I'm not sure why but I am so thankful for it. I have a lovely assortment of loose teas (white, jasmine and oolong) as well. Who's up for a tea party?

Festival was nice. There are a number of food booths to pick from and Linda and I chose this Lebanese gyro-like thing. I say gyro-like because they didn't call it a gyro - they called it something else but it was beef and lamb in a pita with cucumber sauce. How it differs from a gyro I don't know - except it was smaller. We wandered and watched a dance troupe perform, listened to Common Shiner's set at the City Stage and indulged in some ice cream before this happened. We ducked into the doorway of a hat shop for a few minutes before wandering up Monroe Center to a coffee shop until the rain subsided. Here are a few cell phone camera pictures of the hats for your enjoyment. They were quite...colorful.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Just keep swimming... just keep swimming...

Had I written this blog two days ago, the eventual tone of the note would have been quite different. Things were dark and looking for the silver lining in all the clouds was more than I was able to manage. Two days ago I was in Wisconsin (having delivered the dogs and kids to my mom's house) looking at the place that will be our next home. I had had a couple of nice interviews on Tuesday and went to La Crosse to purchase a washer and dryer at Home Depot because the only way I could buy the damn things was to put it on a credit card. Financially, we're exhausted. In fact, after getting a $1300 repair bill for the truck in the queue, exhausted is an understatement. We've repaired our roof - $3650, fronted Ogre the cash for his rent and to re-pay the loan his roommate made to him for his security deposit - $650 plus $250 to fix HIS car and the truck repair was the icing on a big old slice of shit cake. Were it not for the ability to draw advance pay because we're PCS'ing, we'd be completely done for. Completely.

I've spent the last two weeks - ironically since Mother's Day - trying to impress upon Ogre the importance of working and how much it sucks to be broke. He needs a job. He knows he needs a job, but he hates job hunting and doesn't have the all-encompassing fire I remember having in my 20's to make as much money as he can. I remember always looking for a bigger paycheck, you know? We fought tooth and nail about everything for two weeks; two, long, solid weeks. It was hell. I've decided that I need to just let go. I have given him the rope and he will either use it to make a ladder and pull himself up or he will hang himself by being so financially over his head he can't possibly get out. He's accepted a job offer and has some idea of how hard he has to work to cover his other costs. I am hoping for the best. It's all I can do. I think he's starting to get it and I hope he gets an offer from UPS as well. He's said he'd do both jobs and I think that is necessary.

In a nutshell, he is my son. I love him so much it hurts. Sometimes he disturbingly shows many of his idiot-father's undesirable traits and that drives me even more crazy. I had to tell Shrek that the bank is closed. He will now need to sink or swim. It's his lease and his lease is his problem - not mine.

If you asked me what I like least about being a parent - that situation would be it.

In other news (or as if that wasn't enough), we had a complete houseful of guests. I've got nothing against chaos, mind you, but WHEW! When you normally have two little boys, one very quiet teenager and their cantankerous parents, a graduation party really ups the activity level. And, of course, plumbing problems resulting in an emergency visit from Roto-rooter (my disposal doesn't like chicken! Who knew?) at the same time the damage assessment is still being provided on the damn truck makes it hard to appear calm, cool and collected, know what I mean?

Me: "Yeah, the plumber's here. It'll be about $180."
Sarge: "Well, the truck needs a new Universal Joint and a new rear-end (axle?). It'll be about a thousand." (The estimate increased a couple days later because of some spring?)
Me: "Fuck. Goddamnmotherfuckingsonofabitch. I mean, no worries honey. We'll be fine."

I wish the week had been better. The visitors would have been a lot of fun if I hadn't been broke. Now that they're gone I can confess that I didn't go to Meijer Garden with them to save the cost of my ticket and Anatoly's. Yes. It is that bad. I tried very hard to enjoy the visit but was, truthfully, wracked with guilt and money stress the entire damn time. But, if you visited, thank you for coming and I hope you can come again ( even the one from Canadialand ;) ).

The worst best part of the whole graduation thing was, as always, the ex- and ex-in-laws. That kicked the stress level up to "Phazers on Kill" if you know what I mean. It's always just kind of weird. I'm kind of proud of myself and especially Sarge for doing it, but man it brings up unpleasant memories.

Graduation went fine - I had no control over it so it couldn't get fucked up. Know what I mean? The Queen is our family's first honor graduate and I am very proud of her. She was a bit let down because she was within .5 points on her GPA of the Cum Laude designation and the pretty silver stole, but the white was hard earned and she's amazing. Now she's in Houston participating in all sorts of debauchery. She's earned it and I'm not even there so I don't have to look the other way when Tim and Mikey corrupt her despite Sarah's best efforts. Tal (you know Tal? She's a reader ;) ), I'm sure is too busy laughing to intervene on my behalf but she will tell me the stories later or else I'm sure.

Spinning... spinning....

The worst part is the feeling that time went so very, very fast and so many things just went wrong! I feel like I went on a cross-country trip in a Top Fuel Dragster with no brakes. For the drag racing haters uninitiated, Top Fuel Dragsters hit a speed of 350 MPH in about 330 feet.

The other day, I told Sarge that I felt like I had hit rock bottom emotionally and financially about three months ago and now it was feeling like some asshole was underneath the floor sawing a hole to drop me even further in. The house we'll be living in in Tomah didn't meet my expectations. I am hoping that because the cleaning crew hadn't been in it yet when I toured it looks better now, but not optimistic. The master bedroom is very small - not likely to hold our furniture. The kitchen is very, very small - but this is typical of those houses. Worst - the woodwork is nasty. I hope the cleaning crew was able to fix it up but if not, I'll have to try some tricks myself. So I have to get rid of my china hutch and my patio furniture because it won't fit. I have to buy drapes - checking at JCPenney indicated that would be a $300 outlay that I didn't have. And I still had no job.

We also still have no offer on our house. We may or may not be getting one - eventually. We've got buyers that have now seen the house 3 times, love it, etc., but they also have a house in GRPS to sell that isn't even listed yet. I sent an e-mail trying to light a fire under my realtor that took me twice as long to write because I feel profanity, while desired in this case, is not exactly appropriate. She still hasn't responded.

The movers are here Monday and Tuesday.

Not exactly a 180 but close...

Like I said, had I wrote this post two days ago it would have been pretty depressing. Nothing was looking good at all. In fact, things appeared to be headed from bad to worse.

Then a small sliver of light: I found these and these on eBay. I won both auctions scoring the drapes I needed (and yes, it's a need because the sun shines right into the patio door so the place would be crazy hot without them and the privacy would be nil). These match the living room furniture and cost me less for both than one or the other would have cost me in the store. One small step for the house, one giant step for Lisa's perspective.

And, finally, I've been offered and accepted a job. It's a marketing position with one of the two major health care systems in the area. It's something a bit new for me and yet a bit familiar too so I'm trying to focus on how much I expect to like it rather than the massive cut in pay I took vs. my last full time job. It's a different market. Wages will be different. And the people I'll be working with seem awesome. I'm very, very excited. I've got the nanny lined up for the summer and we should be able to cover the stupid mortgage for a little while at least. I don't know how daycare will go up after the nanny goes back to school in the fall but I think we'll be okay. We have breathing room. I'm even kind of excited about the washer and dryer now. I did get a good deal on it (nowhere near the MSRP) and they're big! Big = fewer loads of laundry. I hate laundry.

I feel like someone is reinforcing the floor and pointing me toward the exit now. Thank god.

Sorry for not blogging for so long. Thanks for sticking around.