Saturday, November 10, 2007

Labyrinthine... or the Day the Blog went in circles

Sometimes blog posts roll around in my brain ('cause there's lots of room) for days, weeks, months before they make it to the blog. Other times they never make it at all. Since I started this thing - when did I start this thing? Oh, February 8th. It seems longer. I digress.

Since I started this thing, I've posted some funny stuff and some not so funny stuff. I think I should resurrect SOB of the Week. I miss that. Anyway, I sometimes write just kind of stream of consciousness and this, kids... this would be one of those times.

I haven't got much of a mind, really. I'm still sort of confused and startled by the whole "being an academic type" thing. Most days, its a definite "square-peg, round-hole" sort of feeling. I believe that that is mostly because I am not so far removed from the real world of business that I can not care whether my students get something useful. And, frankly, I've never been much for research and theory. Get my hands dirty! Show me how stuff really works and let me try it. Kick me out of the safe confines of University with skills that an employer wants. Show me what I am capable of. Thanks. That's what I'm shooting for but most days, I feel like I'm screwing the proverbial pooch. But "Ask and you shall receive" right? I have asked the students to tell me how to reach them and they are telling me. An honest question gives an honest answer! Who knew?

I know my teaching will get better. But I also know that the pay will always suck. Despite what you read about overpaid teachers, I can tell you first-hand that it ain't true. My degree is worth twice as much outside of academia - easily. So I battle with myself. Myself is a real bitch because we fight about it every day.

What is worth more? Doing work that you like a lot and expect to love eventually while you can or finding a nice, lucrative business analyst, project manager or other position that might open doors to the kind of life you thought you were working for? In my current position, I will never be promoted, per se. I'm not even in a budgeted position so if cost cuts come at the expense of jobs, mine's the first to go. Why? I'm the only non-budgeted position in my department. I will go first. And our lovely state is loath to give higher education funding increases. Then they wonder why college graduates leave. THAT is simple. You don't value us so fuck you. Why stay in Wisconin with a degree that's worth $10K more across the border? And don't give me that cost of living shit because it's just not that different. And especially when you figure with a master's degree, my salary coming back here is $10K LESS per year than my first real job after college graduation and Thirty Thousand Dollars less than my last full-time position. Dammit... digression again.

From where I sit, this is how it looks. We'll most likely be doing a "short-sale" on our house in the very near future. Fabulous right? That means we'll avoid foreclosure on our credit rating, but the short-sale may do almost as much damage. And, because we've got a VA guarantee, if we ever try to buy a house again; we will probably have to make good on the VA's loss. So much for no down payment, huh? Either way, the next time we buy a house (looks like never ever again at this point) we'll need a large chunk of cash. We never seem to have a large chunk of cash. We almost did once, but then we did an adoption or two which was amazing and wonderful and I don't regret one bit. The problem was after that, the world went to shit. First one money pit house that we lost $20K on the sale of. Then, Michigan, the job from hell, pars planitis and the year from hell with Paul in Kuwait. Our reward for these tribulations? Cutting our monthly income in half, losing at least $30K on the sale of our house in Michigan and a feeling of complete and utter despair.

Why despair you say? We're healthy, mostly happy (at least we are working very hard on that) and the kids are great. Because. Because I work at a University that pays me so well I can't afford to pay my daughter's tuition to go there. And, no. Children of staff don't get free tuition. I hear that kids of Tenured Faculty do but I'm not tenured and never will be. I'll be on a one year contract for as long as I'm there. Even if I found myself in a budgeted position, I'm looking at a two year renewal max.

And because. Because of the dream/hope/wish that will not die. I wish I could let go. I wish there was a gene in my DNA that would let me give up because it is hopeless. But there is not and I have no idea what to do. I can;'t stop thinking about them (and lots of other kids that need parents). Please remember that the Sharps are crazy and even eight may not be enough. I want to help as many kids as I can that would not have a normal life otherwise. Kids with minor medical issues that are easily corrected but would not be if they stayed where they were. If you sent me a picture of any kids with strabismus in particular right now, I'd be a bigger mess than I already am.

But we're probably $45K away from another adoption. Unlike most couples that adopt, we've got no home equity to tap and no realistic hopes for any other type of credit. Thanks West Michigan Real Estate market! Thanks 5/3! THANK YOU WISCONSIN! Because of Sarge's schedule, a second job isn't really viable. I'd pay everything I made out in daycare. So I don't know what to do. I'm open to suggestions. Got any?

What exactly am I wishing for? Well, a break mostly. It has been so long since anything feels like it went our way. I'm craving stability. I'm craving security. I want to know that I am loved. I want to not worry about taking care of my family. I want to help Bratticus with her college bills. And I want to be Indira and Nargiza's mom. And, possibly, some other kids' mom too. I guess that's asking too much but it doesn't seem fair.

I'd ask for advice on fundraising or career planning or saving my sanity, but that seems like a lot to dump on my six loyal readers (or one bloglines subscriber - thanks Tal!). So I'm just going to say thanks. Thanks for reading. I know lots of times this blog really sucks.


Ian said...

I know it's hard, but I guess another adoption just isn't the right thing right now. I guess if you could find a better paying job, then it might eventually be feasible, but I know you don't want to give up your teaching position.

You remind me so much of a couple I used to know. I swam with their kids. The two of them couldn't have kids themselves, so they adopted a retarded boy, a healthy girl, and twins, one who has severe learning disabilities and one who's autistic. They were the nicest people I've ever met in my life, the closest things to saints I think I'll ever see. The kind of people who just wanted to make life better for these kids. People like them, and you... I admire them, a lot.

Tal said...

Lisa...I have a lot of thoughts. First, I don't see the sense in giving up. You'll get there (where you want to be) one day. I am one of the losers who really does think that waking up everyday and going to a job you love is more important than making wads of cash. Just think, if you did end up landing a job that was more lucrative, you wouldn't have time to sped with the kids you have let alone the ones you want.

I'm confident that good things ahppen to good people, and you lady, are good people.