Making the Right Decision

life is sum of all decisions determined by priorities

My previous post discussed the frustration of having to interview.  For the most part, I feel I interview well.  I may come on strong, but I think it’s because I am not shy.  I don’t hesitate to answer questions and I try to come off knowledgable.  Most of the time, I feel this is accurately conveyed.  Fortunately, it was today.

Today, I interviewed for a 5th grade position about an hour away.  I was hesitant about the location but figured interviewing couldn’t hurt.  Practice makes perfect and it’s important to be open-minded.  At the very least, maybe I would make new connections that could lead me to where I am meant to be.

While driving home from the interview, I received a phone call asking for permission to contact references.  Of course this was a good sign.  The principal did not hesitate to call all three references and got back to me within an hour or so.  As you have probably assumed while reading this, I was offered the job.  Despite my gut instinct, I asked for time to discuss this over with my husband and get back to her which she had no problem doing.

I rarely ask for opinions on Facebook.  However, I put it out there to get feedback on if an hour drive is a crazy commute.  I think it’s good to have different opinions and perspectives (in all areas of life) as it allows you to see things differently.  It pushes you to evaluate your priorities and has you question how best to represent yourself and your morals.

Driving an hour there and an hour back adds up quickly.  However, I would get to have my own classroom and do something I’m truly passionate about.  I’m eager to perform well and learn as much as I can – and I could do that here.  But the man, who would be my co-teacher, specifically said he is hoping to find someone who will be here and commit to this family of teachers.

The most popular response on Facebook suggested that I take the job, and if something better comes along to turn it down.  Although it is true this is just business and this happens a log, it makes me uncomfortable.  I don’t want to burn any bridges and I don’t want to screw anyone over.  I would hate to leave them scrambling at the last minute to fill the position.  At the same time, it’s a job – I could love it.  It would help bring in money so we can finally have the funds to adopt a child of our own.  Maybe it won’t be too bad if I find podcasts and music and use that time to decompress.  However, in the winters the roads are horrible…. and this mental debate goes on and on and on and on….

I think at the end of the day, when making a decision like this, you have to go with your gut instinct.  Despite needing the money, I think it would be unfair to take the job.  I can’t commit to being apart of the community long-term as I assume after a year or so that drive would eat at me.  I would much rather have a job close by and I think I need to have faith that it will all work out how it’s supposed to.

For me, it’s important I walk away feeling good about how I handled the situation.  Hopefully, the principal will appreciate my honesty and maybe even pass my name on to someone in my area.  I need to just trust that it happens for a reason, and the job I’m meant to be in will fall in my lap – even if the school year is inching closer and closer.  My priority is being with my family, holding up a good reputation, and finding a job that I want to be in for years to come.  Therefore, I think I have concluded this isn’t the best fit and I will need to respectfully decline the offer.

Silver lining: At least I’m in a position to turn down an offer.  At least I have an offer.  At least I had an interview and hopefully there are more to follow.

Keeping an Open Mind

For the last two years, I have been a 6th grade teacher.  I’ve coached middle school volleyball and soccer and really found my groove.  Middle school is where I felt I belonged and I was committed to the idea.  The fact that most people couldn’t imagine the idea of working in a middle school further confirmed the fact that I was someone who was right for the job – that I was someone who could truly relate to the kiddos and make a difference.

However, transferring my teaching license in Michigan has been quite frustrating.  In Colorado I was licensed K-6 for elementary school.  In Michigan, elementary school is defined as K-5.  Despite the fact that I passed the Praxis test and was endorsed in secondary Language Arts, Michigan doesn’t care.  They will not simply accept a passed test but rather expects you to complete a program and either major or minor in the topic.  I already have a Master’s degree, so having to go to school for the same thing I’m already endorsed in (assuming I am committed to secondary education) seems silly to me.  Lastly, I have to pass two Michigan state tests in order to receive an official teaching license – one of which has three subtests.  Needless to say, I have been quite disappointed finding out all the hoops I have to jump through to be able to do what I love.

Because Michigan only approved me to teach elementary school, I’ve had to adjust my whole mindset.  It’s something I am no longer used to and have to just start accepting that I could still love teaching elementary.  After all, I have worked with kids of all different ages and have loved it.  I went to school to teach elementary school because clearly I enjoyed that age as well.  I think I just have forgotten how much fun that age is too.

I did a practicum in a preschool, I’ve done a practicum in a 2nd grade classroom, I student taught 4th grade, I taught for part of a year 5th grade, and then have done 2 years in 6th grade.  I loved 4th grade – in fact I thought for a while it was my ideal grade.  I loved the 2nd grade practicum – the students were cute, they felt safe with me, and I wanted to take them home as one of my own.

So despite the fact that the idea of teaching little ones scare me, I think it’s because I’m nervous I may not be as strong as I once was teaching those topics.  However, I have an interview for a 1st or 2nd grade position (it may have changed now so I’m not entirely sure) and I need to start getting excited.  There are a lot of benefits to teaching elementary school as well – particularly less grading.  Regardless of what I teach, as long as I have a good team and I have a sense of confidence teaching what I’m teaching, I know I’ll be successful.  I know I’m a good teacher.  I’m passionate about teaching, and if that enthusiasm continues, I know I will only grow to be a better teacher and hopefully become a major asset to any school I’m at.

For right now, I need to go with the flow.  I need to keep an open mind and just embrace where life takes me.  God has a plan for me and I need to relinquish any control I’m trying to hold on to.  Let’s be honest, I really don’t have any control.  I make plans and God laughs.  So keep your fingers crossed because one way or another, I will have a classroom of my own once again!

Something All Men Should Know

Dear Gentlemen,

Most of you guys who have been around at least one woman, know that the last thing you should ask her is, “Is it that time of month?” or “Are you PMSing?”  This should be a well-known fact.  You know that the second those words come out of your mouth, you are about to experience a fiery wrath from a woman that you never thought was possible.  Despite that notorious understanding, there are some you who still have the audacity to do so.  You don’t even necessarily mean to say it in a douchebag way, but are sincerely trying to understand that moodiness that has consumed your once lovely sister, girlfriend, daughter, mother or wife.  So I felt I should clue you in on some things.

I will preface this letter that even the best of you can still screw this up.  I am blessed to have a very patient husband.  He is rational beyond belief (almost to an annoying point) and understands, to the best of his ability, what this monthly gift encompasses.  But, even him too, still seems to not completely comprehend the rules that stand when TOM is in town (aka: time of month).

Have you ever seen the show Charmed or watched any sort of exorcism movie?  You all know the clip of where a demon has possessed someone’s body and although they have taken over the body, that precious person is still in there somewhere fighting for life.  After fighting with this demon, you get a glimpse of the person you love for just a moment and see that she is still indeed alive and you just have to have hope and faith this demon will leave.  This is what PMS is like.

Despite our best efforts, our emotions get the best of us.  We cannot help it.  We have no control.  I’m sorry that when you asked if I was ready, that I responded in a tone that implied you were the dumbest person alive.  I want to apologize for literally having to sit down and just cry because I was hungry.  I apologize that despite you trying to just ignore the obvious mood swings, that I still got upset because you were not sympathetic enough.

But gentlemen, please, if you take one thing away from this.  Please, for the love of God, please do not ever tell me to, “Calm down.”  NEVER in the history of any language, have those two words ever achieved what you meant for them to do.  In fact, you were just better off hoping I would self-destruct due to the fact that I was hungry and uncomfortable.  But calm down? Are you kidding me?  Do not ever tell any hormonal woman, ever, to just calm down.

I know that we are not easy.  Half the time you have to do the opposite of what we say, understand that we don’t mean whatever we said when we were tired or hungry, and that for anywhere from 1-6 days a month we could be your worst nightmare.  I am fortunate enough to have little moments where I do “come back”  and can recognize that I am being completely ridiculous and irrational.  However, please understand that in the heat of the moment I have no control.  And as I have told a friend of mine, in the heat of the moment when I am infuriated, I’ve already committed.  My brain might be screaming at me that I’m being foolish, but I’ve already committed to acting like a woman in the middle of war and you just need to hang in for the ride.

The last thing that I would like to persuade you to resist is cracking stupid jokes.  After thoroughly being warned that we are not thinking clearly and are committed to burning down the city when we are enraged, please do not make some stupid sarcastic, smart-ass joke thinking it will go over well.  I am already not feeling great.  I’m hormonal.  I’m frustrated for stupid reasons.  And now you think it’s a good time to make a joke where the chance of the joke going over well is about equal to the chance of you winning the lottery.  Not good.

Like I said before, it’s not easy.  I cant recognize that hormones can get the best of us.  But please remind yourself it’s just a storm.  It’s not like this forever and you just have to be patient. Please recognize that now, more than ever, not only do we need your patience but we need that respect, that kindness, and your loving actions.  If you notice I’m particularly testy, bring me chocolate and a nice glass of wine.  Distract me.  I will apologize on the behalf of all women who act crazy when TOM comes into town.  TOM is a dick.  We don’t do it on purpose and it’s not fun for us either.  I would much rather be a go-with-the-flow gal and enjoy the evening.

Sincerely,

A woman who sincerely hates TOM

The Truth About Marriage

When speaking with my pastor a week before my wedding, we were discussing the idea of “the one.”  He told me he didn’t believe in being meant for one person.  He believed that marriage was about being with a person whom you love that you choose to work on things with each and every day.  “There will always be someone who is taller, richer or funnier.  There will be people we find attractive.  However, marriage is about loving that one person you choose and working through things with each other day in and day out.”

This is something that has stuck with me more than any other piece of marriage advice (however, “happy wife, happy life” is a close second).  I think this philosophy takes off the pressure and the fear of marrying the wrong person.  How many times have you heard, “How do you know he’s the one?”  That’s a scary thought, right?  It’s scary to think that you are only meant for one person out of the nearly 7.5 billion people on this earth.  Not to mention that puts an immense amount of pressure on the relationship itself.

We live in an age, today, where people are constantly looking for the new and improved.  Aziz Ansari, in his book Modern Romance, described how while he was on his way to a date, he was on Tinder swiping just to see if there was anyone who peeked his interest more than the person he was about to meet.  I’ve heard friends talk about how they met a guy and had this great chemistry and he was so funny and immediately wrote their fairytale story before even embarking on their first date.

We read into too many things. We get nervous that the person we chose to spend the rest of or life with may not have been the right choice.  I have had those doubts.  I got married at the age of 21.  Those doubts got amplified when things in our marriage were going awry (fertility issues, a career that moved us away from family, sacrifices that had to be made, etc).  It’s those doubts that I think are the most harmful to a relationship.  Once you allow yourself to doubt things, it’s like a domino effect.

This last year was a struggle for our marriage.  My husband was offered a job in Arizona, the last place I ever wanted to live.  When I was under the impression we were being uprooted to a place far from my family where I didn’t want to be, the doubts I had grew exponentially.  I then confessed my doubts to my husband and that did not help matters.  My doubts made him feel more insecure and therefore he withdrew a little and it was just hard.  We were both sensitive to the tiniest things.

However, that’s the thing.  Marriage is not always easy.   Marriage requires sacrifice – you both take turns with who has to sacrifice what.  But you do it for a greater cause.  And, you don’t keep track of who gave what up.  It is what it is.  A lot of people think that after you say, “I do” that all of your life problems will be solved.  A lot of people don’t talk about the struggles they have had or the sacrifices they have had to make.  They don’t share their struggles on Facebook and therefore you’re more likely to feel alone – like you’re marriage is bad or you’re the only person going through this.  That feeling in itself doesn’t make things any easier.

I think what I have learned most from this last year is that it’s important to be honest and communicate your feelings, fears, needs, hopes, etc to your partner – no matter how hard it is.  It’s important to have those hard conversations and recognize what you need and want.  Ownership is also a must.  You need to own up to what your faults are in the relationship and support each other.  You need to be willing to give your partner what they need.  Sometimes it’s simple things.  For example, I’m guilty of not complimenting my husband as much as I should.  I’ve never been good about giving compliments – but after the ups and downs we have had, it’s important that he hears them.  I would be just as insecure or frustrated if I didn’t hear those positive words from him.  It needs to go both ways.

I think it’s easy to write things off.  It’s easier to quit than work through things.  It’s easier to say, “It wasn’t meant to be” than to take responsibility for your faults in the marriage, correct them, work through issues, communicate, stumble, rebuild, stumble, communicate, breathe, and work through things little by little.  In fact, that sounds like a lot more work, but it’s worth it.

After talking through things and recognizing what we have endured, how far we have come, and what we love about each other, it makes us feel so much more worthy of the relationship we have.  When you are both willing to put in the effort and put the other person before you, you are going to succeed.  Because marriage is about the person you choose to be with and work through things with day in and day out.  There will always be people you are compatible with, whom you find attractive, funny, or smart.  But you chose your spouse for a reason – and you need to remember those reasons.

Lastly, humor is a huge element.  Without humor I truly think my husband and I would have been lost.  You need to be able to find things to laugh about and break the tension. Even if it’s just temporary. Trying to make one another laugh is always a fun thing and humor releases endorphins causing that “feel-good” emotion.  It’s healthy.  Fortunately for me, my husband’s sense of humor is one of the things I find most attractive about him.  He is good at finding the light in dark situations and when going through ups and downs, that humor is badly needed.

So if you find yourself reading this, and you or someone you know is going through rough times, just know it’s not a forever thing.  It doesn’t have to be a forever thing.  It does take work, communication, ownership, patience, and humor.  But it’s worth it.   Despite my doubts, we’re in a place where we are stronger than ever.  We have family and friends to thank.  We recognize what one another needs to feel secure and empowered and we recognize that we are in this for the long haul – forever and always.

 

 

 

 “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”  

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

So, You Want to Sell Your House?

Tired of living in your current place of residence?  Perhaps it’s not big enough or your neighbors are too loud.  Perhaps your yard is too small or you just want a change in scenery.  Well, fear not…. because with the price of a realtor and a buyer’s agent, a moving company, moving boxes, packaging tape, car fuel, the cost of kenneling your dog(s), money for broken dishes and to replace lost items that you placed in a miscellaneous box… you could be moved in no time!

Moving can be very stressful, and I get that.  It’s a lot to do, organize, and orchestrate. There’s a lot of puzzle pieces you have to put into place in order to make it happen and there are always…ALWAYS…unforeseen expenses.  However, it’s not impossible and with the right housing market, a good realtor, and reliable buyers, it should go with ease.

We just recently bought our 4th house in 4 years.  That means we have sold our own property 3 times.  So I understand what it is like to be a buyer and a seller.

As a seller, you want to get the house ready.  Touch up some paint scratches because it’s easy and cheap.  Clean the house.  Get a realtor.  Keep the house picked up for spontaneous showings.  Keep the dogs kenneled or out of the house for when showings occur.  And then patiently waiting for the right buyer.  And then even after the buyer comes around you still have to negotiate.  Then the inspection comes and they make a list of items they want fixed, serviced, and/or replaced.  With that comes more negotiations.

Did you read that correctly?…. NEGOTIATIONS.  That means compromising.  Not getting 100% of what you want.  Coming to some sort of terms that makes BOTH parties happy – where both needs and wants are met to the best of both of your abilities.

With that being said, our most recent sellers did the complete opposite.  They thought solely of themselves and have screwed us over.  I fear for what they are teaching their children.  It’s frustrating because I feel like we are good people.  We truly try to pass on good deeds and use our manners and show respect to others.  And for some reason, with this situation, we keep being reminded of how shitty our sellers were.

I am appalled.

I am infuriated.

We have always done our best to make our house look as good as possible before leaving so that it’s just as special for the new home owners.  Getting a new house is exciting.  You have in your mindset of what could be and what the new chapter has in store for you.  Therefore, it has been eyeopening that there are some people that are just so insensitive, so self-centered and selfish, that these events could ever occur.

Perhaps it’s the fact that it’s not in Michigan.  I was always told that Colorado was the nicest state ever.  I don’t want to think that though.  I’d prefer to think that we just got really unlucky with some asshole sellers, and that most transactions don’t ever occur like this.

Regardless of why this occurred, the moral of the story is do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  Treat others how you would want to be treated.  Try to leave every place a little better than how you found it.  Do. the. right. thing.  Bottom line… don’t be a dick!

 

 

 

In case you are wondering and want to know/care to know the details of what has occurred since undergoing contract, compiled list (in chronological order).   If you are looking to sell in the future, this is a list of what NOT to do.  As a buyer, take this as a warning of what you may want to look into protecting yourself from.  Never has this been an issue for us until now.

  1. insisted on an early close date and then when we wanted to close pushed it back 3 weeks (always get a finite close date in writing…don’t just say “by the end of ___”)
  2. rejected our offer of staying in a hotel, paid for, to help us out seeing we were moving ACROSS THE COUNTRY!!!
  3. a week before close, pushed the date out a week (I was already scheduled to drive across the country with 3 dogs! So My dad and I had to get a hotel and after 16 hours of the poor dogs being in the car, we only got there to have them kenneled yet again)
  4. insisted on staying in the house 2 days after close to move out and make sure everything is cleared out (we were paid rent for those two days…. by their realtor!  This realtor used to be their friend, but after this deal she swore they’d never speak again)
  5. despite being given 2 extra days to clear out… they neglected to clean the bathrooms – thats right…shampoo bottle rings on the bath tub, hair in the drain, spots on the mirror, etc
  6. left broken furniture in the garage
  7. took down the tv mount when they moved leaving the wall messed up (not supposed to take down anything mounted to the walls) and it wasn’t painted underneath either
  8. took down shelves that were installed with drywall screws, etc – just took them.  The shelves are gone.  The holes are in the wall.  WTF?
  9. did not winterize the pool
  10. incorrectly installed pool pipes that had to be corrected
  11. did not winterize the sprinklers – the pump is now cracked and is $1000 to replace and not covered in the negotiated home warranty 

I Sound like my Father!

I feel that now that I have taught English/Language Arts, perhaps I have become more snobby about the language itself.  Perhaps I feel like I am entitled to an opinion seeing that I have had to teach the subject, clarify the grammar rules, and grade countless writing assignments.  Or perhaps I am simply more aware of what our language is developing into seeing I am surrounded by middle schoolers who want to incorporate “bae” and “lol” into their essays.

I have even had students write “IDK” as an answer and then put in parentheses “I don’t know in case you don’t know” – spelling out that abbreviation as if I’m old and have lived under a rock.  I’m sorry, child, but my generation invented those little acronyms.

However, it’s come to a point where I am so disgusted in what my generation has created and what society has enabled us to do.  I have a pet peeve of people using the word “good” inappropriately when they should use the adverb “well.”  This is such a common mistake though, that I believe the language has probably made good an adverb by now.  For those of you who don’t know what an adverb is, it’s a word that describes a verb.  The words: are, is, am, was, have been, are state of being verbs and you use adverbs to describe them.  So when someone asks “How are you?” You respond with “well,” not “good” as that is an adjective.

Okay, enough grammar – however that really does drive me crazy – and I appreciate any/all of my students who attempted to correct their ways while in my class.

I have a best friend that loves the word “cray.”  And she’s not alone.  I will say I think she intentionally says it around me because she knows how disgusted I am in it.  I know so many people who use words like these and they honestly don’t even bat an eye when they use it.  They think it’s normal.  It’s the lingo, it becomes normal.   But isn’t it sad when words like “twerking” and “bootylicious” are legitimate words according to the dictionary.

They added another definition to the word “literal” explaining how the word can be used to emphasize something.  However, by adding that definition, they have literally cancelled out the definition of the word.  There is no longer a word that means literally as its definitions are contradicting.

I just find it sad because our language can be so pretty.  People used to write song lyrics and poetry that had such depth and complexity.  Instead now we are left with “Oh baby baby baby, please oh baby baby baby….” – how poetic.

On a regular basis, I told my students there was no need to cuss because there are so many other ways to say what you are thinking or how you are feeling that make you come across far more intelligently (contrary to the fact that I do indeed cuss like a sailor when I’m not teaching).  However, it is true.  When you are able to use larger words you come across as more educated.  People do take note of that.  They see you as polished and they do respect that.  So why do we keep wanting to dumb everything down?  It starts out as a joke and then it becomes a reality.  It is crazy to see how our language has evolved and somewhat sad to see what the language has lost.

The saddest part of it all is now this entire rant makes me feel like I’m my father.  I just hear his voice echoing in my head as I complain about what today’s youth has done to our language and how horrible it is.  I find myself nodding in agreement but also wanting to slap myself for sounding just like him as I have rolled my eyes to his rants so many times before.  I will say, though, when you see what kids try to write on homework assignments, tests, and essays – you may think twice about using the word “bae” or “cray cray” (which by the way has the same amount of syllables).  Either way, my students were told from day 1 that those words are not allowed in my classroom, and although they laughed they did follow that expectation.

I Need More Couch Cushions!

For those of you that don’t know, my husband and I are beginning the adoption process.  We are currently doing our best to save up money to activate our profile and start the process of finding the right birth mother, etc.  I have created another blog called waitingforourstork.wordpress.com in which I keep friends and family updated about our process.  However, some of my blogs seem to overlap and therefore I have published some blogs in both places.  I feel like the common trend of my posts, in regards to adoption, surrounds the topic of money.  However, that is where we are in this journey.  Saving money.  The very least favorite part of the process, might I add.  However, I may retract that statement once we get to the legal part – that may be a close 2nd, but we shall see (I will stay optimistic about that process).

The issue is not just the matter of saving money and refraining from my oh so spontaneous Bullseye Boutique shopping sprees (aka: Target or Tar-jzay), although that definitely is a draw back as I rarely leave that store with solely the items I went there for to begin with.

The issue is, however, all the unforeseen spending.  You know, the spending that you never plan on nor ever arises when you’re not saving money, but of course happen almost immediately after you decide you can’t spend any more money.  For example, since we have decided to save for adoption we have had to pay added pool expenses, have pool pipes re-piped, replace a sprinkler pump, pay a plumber for our septic pump, fix pipes on the outside of the house that weren’t set up correctly to begin with, take the dog to the vet for some mysterious skin infection, follow up vet appt with a renewal of a prescription costing us the same amount as the initial vet visit, and I’m sure there are other expenses I’m forgetting.

Now that I am not working, I have had the privilege of posting all of our furniture and unwanted household items on Craigslist, the app Letgo, and Facebook.  Let me tell you how much fun that is – especially seeing I was almost scammed today by someone who wanted to “purchase it for their daughter who is overseas and wants to pay via PayPal.”  Quick tangent as to ensure this doesn’t happen to you (feel free to skip over this if you would like):

Sure, PayPal is legit – thats awesome.  They send you an email that looks almost identical to the emails PayPal sends you however when interacting with these scammers their English isn’t great (first flag), the email is sent to junk (2nd flag), and they ask you to respond to the email with the tracking number of the shipment (3rd flag).  My previous PayPal emails have my full name in them whereas their emails only have my email address  and PayPal never wants you to respond to their emails.  Lastly, they wanted me to express mail the iPad I am selling to Nigeria (4th flag….ummm report and block user).  Oh and their email address will show as Service@paypal.com – first of all “service” is not capitalized in normal emails and second of all when you actually click on the email address it will be some variation of agentdondavid11@gmail.com  – whereas palpal’s email comes strictly from service@paypal.com (red flag red flag red flag!).

So it becomes frustrating when the only responses you get are either scammers or people who want to pay you a fraction of what the item is worth.  So I believe the next option is a consignment store.

It’s just hard because I feel like a little kid, needing money and not sure how else to come up with it.  I’ve flipped all the couch cushions (or in my case posted all the furniture we can afford to lose).  I’ve applied for tutoring and nannying jobs until I can find a teaching position.  It’s just hard when you don’t have any control in the matter and you are doing your best to truly be as proactive as possible.

For those of you who know me, I don’t like not being in control.  I’m anal that way and I tend to flip out and lose all sense of rationality when I have little to no control or say.  So if someone could invent a money tree right about now, that would be greatly appreciated!