Sunday, April 10, 2011

Reality: 1, Hopes: Zilch. Oh Reality You Trounce Me Again!

Dear Secret Blogiary,

Clearly, I have been spoiled by my expansive 1,700 square feet of living space. By bedrooms that are like vast caverns. By kitchens that three or more people can be in at one time.

Spoiled. I admit it.

The apartment I looked at with its supposed 1,400 square feet was such a disappointment. Everything was squashed and dark. The layout was long and narrow, dark and cramped. The only room that wasn’t was the dining room. The bedrooms barely fit the bed and dresser (yes it was still furnished – the current tenant was not yet moved out). The walls were dingy and I was told that the carpets would be cleaned but the owner was not going to repaint. Ick.

I tried to think positively about it. Remember, I told myself, location and price, both of with are good. Except…

When I called Mister W to let him know about it, he asked if it was a place that I could live with for the long term. And I hesitated just a second before I answered, “I guess.”

“Well, that’s that,” Mister W said.

“What?” I asked.

“You paused first. It won’t work. You won’t be happy with it.” He said.


“Honey,” he said, “Just keep looking when you get home. We’ll find something.” He reassured.

“But-” I protested.

“Location and price aren’t worth you being unhappy.”

It shouldn’t surprise me anymore, but I am constantly amazed at how well he knows and tolerates me.

Spoiled. That’s what I am.

UPDATE: Went with Mister W to look at another apartment today in the neighborhood next to the one I looked at alone. Much, much nicer. Slightly bigger. And we decided to go ahead and put in an application for it. Crossing my fingers and holding my breath.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Apartment Hunting

Dear Secret Blogiary,

I am not ready to move just yet…But I have an appointment tomorrow to look at an apartment.

Once Mister W and I decided that keeping this house was not worth our sanity or our marriage we knew that it would only be a matter of time before we would have to move. We thought that we would wait, though, until we actually got a foreclosure notice. That was the plan. And in the interim we would work diligently at paying off as much debt as possible.

This apartment though is absolutely perfect in location, size and price. It was an opportunity that we could not let pass us by without at least trying to get it.

Ideally the plan for next year is for me to work from home, home school The Girls and focus on writing. For that to happen we needed to reduce our living expenses to a single income: Mister W’s. We talked about trying to go to a single car household as well and since I wouldn’t be driving to work, I was okay with that.

This apartment is less than a mile from Mister W’s work (read that as walking distance) which is so, so, so perfect. Because it means that we could go to a single car AND I wouldn’t feel trapped at the house because Mister W had the car all day. Plus, it is close to potential part time jobs for me if the whole “work at home” thing doesn’t pan out well.

It is a bit smaller than what we currently have, 1,400 square feet versus 1,700 square feet, but we have 3 full baths and the master one is freaking HUGE (really unnecessarily large) with a closet to match and the apartment only has 2.5. So I figure I am losing a master bath and master closet sized space. I can live with that.

I am a teensy bit concerned about the credit check though. I plan on bringing copies of our W2s and a current bank statement. And I plan on being completely upfront with the whole foreclosure thing.

So I am hopeful.

Hopeful that it is as nice as it is in the pictures.

Hopeful that if it is as nice then our credit score doesn’t take us completely out of consideration.

Hopeful. Just hopeful.

And also, kind-of hungry.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

WWIJD or What Would Indiana Jones Do?

Dear Secret Blogiary,

Sometimes it scares me how little my students know. I have to remind myself that they are only 13-14 years old and they haven’t been exposed to much in the way of culture.

“Mrs. W.?” Student J asked during the wind down of the lesson. “Can I ask you a question?”

“Does it have to do with the lesson?” I ask J trying to keep the exasperation out of my tone. J is notorious for asking questions that while interesting have nothing to do with the lesson or my content area.

“Kind-of,” he replies while shaking his head.

“Okay, Ladies and Gentlemen, go ahead and start reading the poem.” I sit down next to J. “Go ahead,” I say.

“Did you go to college for this?”

“This being…?”

“Language Arts…poetry…you know, this.” He gestures with his hands around the room.

“Yes,” I tell him. “My major was English. I love words.”

“Oh.” He says, then “But what about teaching? When you were in college is this what you wanted to do?”

“Oh. No!” I exclaim. “I didn’t even think about teaching until after college.”

“What did you want to be then?” J asks leaning forward on his desk, the poem he is supposed to be reading forgotten.

“Archeologist,” I say. “Like Indiana Jones.”

J stares at me for a few seconds. “Oh! You mean like the movie?”

I nod, smile and point at his book. He looks back at the poem for a minute but then as I am about stand up to move on to another group of students he looks back at me.

“Why didn’t you become an archeologist?” he asks quietly.

“No more Nazis.” I tell him.

“Oh,” J says, “What are those?”

Monday, April 4, 2011

That man is clearly not my Father as I am sure he has been replaced by a Pod Person.

Dear Secret Blogiary,

Dad called me back tonight concerned about how my day went and if I “rocked any boats.”

“Did you behave?” Dad asks.

“What? Are you kidding?” I reply. "Am I five?"

“Well, I know you were a bit upset.”

“Yeah. But I am a teacher and I teach.” I say pulling the phone from my ear and sticking my tongue out at it.

“So…What did you teach today?” He asks.

“Jeez, Dad! What am I? Ten?” I say.

"Come on, Teacher. What did you teach?" He cajoles.

“Fine." I say rolling my eyes wishing we were Skyping so he could clearly see my sass. "I taught the kids how to construct a meth lab in their closet so they could earn money to buy some pencils.” I pause. "Cause, you know, they never have supplies."

“Huh. Meth lab? That’s good. Teach them a skill they can use! I hear meth can bring in a lot of money.”

"Um...yeah. I guess. Depending on the neighborhood, I imagine." I say slowly, I am talking to my Dad, right?

"Anything else?" Dad asks. "Did meth labs take up the full 90 minutes?"

“Yeah." I reply. "You know, I’m tired of teaching stupid shit like spelling and reading. Tomorrow, I’m going to teach them how to cut powdered sugar in with their coke to increase supply and profits.”

“That’s a good plan, Honey, just, you know…don’t rock the boat too much, okay?”

“So you think I cut the lesson on IEDs?”

My dad snarks softly into the phone. "You know, they tap phones."

"Seriously, Dad? Now you're worried about illegal phone tapping?"

"Well, could be."

Perspective Is A Wonderful Tool

Dear Secret Blogiary,

My dad called me this morning to check in (I am still not sure if it is for my benefit or his) and we got to talking about work. I told him about the evaluation and when he asked me if I was upset, I paused and had to really think about that question. Am I upset about the evaluation or am I more upset about what I think it means?

And as I was talking to Dad, I realized that I am not upset about the evaluation. I am angry about what it represents. Essentially, as I said before I will be hard pressed to get a job in education again. And really, the more I thought about this, the more I realized that I was okay with it. Because the more I thought about it the more I realized that it isn't teaching I have a problem with, it's the students.

I can teach. I can teach well. But my tolerance for kids is shit. I refuse to tolerate belligerant and vile teenage antics. I don’t want to deal with hormonal teenagers rage about the unfairness of having to learn about grammar or why they need to understand how to construct a sentence. I don’t have any sympathy for students who come into my classroom with some kind of sob story about why they don’t have their work. Not doing it is one thing. Trying to bullshit me into believing a story about why they don’t have it something else entirely. I never BS’d my teachers. If I didn’t do an assignment, I owned up to it and took the consequences. But then I was also raised by a woman who demanded honesty and all times.

The only time I ever did not have an assignment finished and tried to get out of it was in college and I had just had emergency gallbladder surgery. The professor’s response: Sorry about that. Yup. Surgery does indeed suck. The paper is still due on Tuesday because you knew about it a month ago.

I turned it in on time and got my first B ever in this particular professor’s class.

It occurred to me today, after a week’s distance between the aforementioned yearly evaluation and my subsequent post about it, that I was awful whiny about it. That isn’t who I am. Well, okay, I do whine a bit on occasion, but in this instance, I am better than that.

So, back to work today, with a smile even, because regardless of what others might say, I know that I am doing my job to the best of my ability. And I take pride in that.

As for the evaluation? One piece of paper does not define who I am as a person. And as for what the future holds? Well, in the immortal words of Tom Petty:

It’s time to move on. It’s time to get going. What lies ahead, I have no way of knowing. But under my feet, Baby, grass is growing. Yeah, it’s time to move on, time to get going.

And I am okay with that.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

I Blame Chili's and Their Stupid Good Food

Dear Secret Blogiary,

Mister W. and I do not often get date nights. Hell, between his schedule and The Girls, it isn’t often we get any type of quiet alone time. But we try.

Tonight, out of some random act of kindness, Mom took The Girls for a sleepover. My mind immediately began racing through various naughty things Mister W. and I could partake in.

Oh…The plans I made while waiting for Mister W. to finally get home. And it all started with food. You see, I have long since discovered that, although it is an Old Wive’s Tale, the way to Mister’s heart is to bypass it altogether and focus on the stomach. Mister Q. loves his food. Loves. So it was with great pleasure that I remembered an awesome Christmas present we had yet to use: A gift card to Chili’s.

I assaulted Mister W. as he walked through the door all but tearing off his shirt and shoved him into the shower. As he soaped up I told him of my plans and with a grumble from his stomach he readily agreed that it was a fine plan.

Chili’s was slow, odd for a Saturday evening, but it was nice to get a table without having to wait thirty minutes. Sliding into the booth, Dreamy Waiter took our drink order: Sweet Tea for me (I was driving) and Crown on the Rocks for Mister W.
Normally we skip the appetizers because I never finsish my dinner when we have a started, but Mister W. was Hungry and I just couldn’t resist the southwestern egg rolls.

Big Mistake.
Hot, crispy, just a touch of spice, dipped in that avocado-ranch dressing. Divine. And did I mention hot? Sort of like a lava flow in your mouth except instead of lava it is the skin from the roof of your mouth melting and cascading over your tongue.

I survived. Barely. Thank the sweet tea deity that Dreamy Waiter had just brought me a refill. I guzzled half of it down and suck on ice cubes while waiting for dinner to arrive.

Fajitas all around for dinner; me, the trio, Mister W. the buffalo chicken. Ah! but the meal was so good. And it was nice to be out of the house, eating food that I didn’t have to cook, with someone who I occasionally like to spend time with.

We talked in quiet voices about the plans for the rest of the evening and I am sure that my face was warm not because of the spicy food but because…

But then, poor planning struck. As it so often happens (because every single time we have a date night this is how it ends up) we eat too much and waddle back to the house, bemoaning all the food, as good as it was.

We sit down on the couch to let our dinner settle.

We turn the T.V. on (really haven’t we seen this episode of Mythbusters 5,000 times?).

Mister W. yawns. I rub my eyes.

I lie down and put my head in his lap. His stomach burbles in protest. I sit back up.

We look at each other.

We laugh and shake our heads.

“Every single time,” Mister W. says.


“Maybe in the morning? Before the girls come home?” Mister W. asks.

"I do like morning sex," I say.

Mister W. stumbles off to bed.

And I get sucked into watching a SyFy (why do they spell it like that?) mini-movie, Meteor, "starring" Jason Alexander.

I blame you, Chili’s.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Out of the Loop

Dear Secret Blogiary,

It was way past my bedtime. I could hear muffled chatter from downstairs and occasional laughter. I lay in bed trying to identify the laughs by pitch and tone. Clearly, my brother’s laugh was deep, while my mom “tee-heed.” And for the life of me I knew, just knew, I was missing out on the single most important thing in my life!

It was the same thing every night. I would get to watch Jeopardy then maybe Punky Brewster, Family Ties or The Facts of Life then I was shuffled off to bed. But I knew, after my story and getting tucked in, that Other Stuff was going on right down at the bottom of the stairs.

Many a time I would, with as much stealth as an 8 year old could muster, sneak down the stairs to see what was going on. I managed to watch snippets of Knight Rider, bits of the A-Team, almost an hour of Ice Pirates. But without fail, I would eventually get caught and get sent back to bed.

Mom walks me back upstairs and watches as I climb into bed again.

"Why do you do this every night?" she asks as I lay down.

"Cause." I say yawning, "I don't want to miss it."

She shakes her head, tucks the blanket up around my shoulders, and leans down to kiss my forehead. 

"You are not missing out on anything, dear, we are just watching T.V."

I close my eyes as she walks out of the room. She is part of the conspiracy, I think before giving in to sleep.

And it is moments like this that I feel like I am missing out on something. Something BIG. All because of my unwillingness to embrace current trends and technologies.

It isn’t that I dislike technology; it's just that it is too much to keep up with.

I miss my rotary dial phone.
I miss the Atari.
I miss news just at 6 and 11.

And I am only 34.

I was fine with dial-up until Mister W. wanted cable back and Comcast (the Devils that they are) offered a triple pack that was cheap.

My prepaid cell phone does one thing.
My mp3 player only plays music.

I never jumped on the MySpace wagon.

I have failed at Facebook. I only have about 60 friends and they are mostly family (my nephew has over 300! How can you even know that many people?) Honestly, I did have more at one point, but they were all people from high school that I never talked to in high school to begin with so I unfriended them. Harsh, right?

Social media is not something I have gotten the hang of. And so when people on other blogs talk about Twitter and the Four Square, I feel, well, out of the loop. Missing something.

Far cooler people than I utilize Twitter for utter awesomeness. The Bloggess, for instance, is currently campaigning for Nathan Fillion to send her a picture of him holding twine. Sexily. She'll do it too, as she has magical powers.

I can’t compete at that level. I don’t even want to. It would be hilarious to follow though.

BUT (and you knew this was coming right?) The point of Twitter, updating your life status, seems rather silly to me. In extreme cases, as in say overthrowing the government, sure, then I guess Twitter would be a blessing to have. But in my very small world, I don’t see the point. What exactly am I missing out on?

The other day, I went out for ice cream with the Girls. Unusually warm and balmy, we opted to sit outside. Across the sidewalk from us, also enjoying their ice cream, sat two girls, probably in their very early twenties. Clearly, they had come out together to hang out but neither of them looked at the other. They weren’t talking. They weren’t giggling or gossiping. They were on their cell phones, texting, browsing the internet, Tweeting maybe?

And I see this everywhere.

I may be old fashioned. I like old school: Old school music, old school technology, old school if-you-can’t-reach-me-leave-a-message-at-the-beep style of living. But isn’t there going to be a point, where technology for its own sake is going to go just a bit too far? I’m not talking Matrix conspiracies or protesting to stop progress, but as a teacher, I do see first hand where this is going. I have students who balk at reading a short story because it is too long, students who can’t seem to get past “text writing” in their formal essays. I don’t want to be Chicken Little nor do I claim to have studies to back it up (not yet anyhow but I am totally going to Google it), but clearly (to me at least) technology is becoming a problem.
Whoa! Where did this soapbox come from? I’ll stop there. I started this post because I felt like I was missing something. Now, I realize that I am.

The 80’s.

Clearly, I need to step up my “going Amish” plan. But first I need to check to see if Nathan sent that picture yet.