Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Minnow Fishing

       Curwood Castle

I wish I could offer a clear headed, orderly guide to searching for the perfect abode. I can't. Finding and securing an apt. in this area is akin to trying to grasp a blue minnow in a shimmering pool of mostly blue-green minnows while wearing rubber gloves.

If I had to come up with some rules... these are what they would be. I know they are useless. Sorry.

1. Forget perfect.

Perfect for us location-wise would be a place that is close to our closest friends, my place of work, their school and that place does not exist. Perfect would be a house with running/hiking trails in the back and a sidewalk that leads to the library. Perfect would be a place where I could have chickens and, on lonely nights when my kids are with their dad, perfect would be a place where I could walk two blocks and be at a girlfriend's house. Perfect does not exist. Forget Perfect.

2. Get a Raise.

Rent is steep here. Alps steep. No wonder why there are so many homeless people around Western Mass. steep. A couple weeks ago. I was in the waiting room at the docs (about to find out that I need pt for a weak/strained periformous muscle aka- weak arse, which is apparently common with runners which made me feel good bc my doc called me a runner) and I was thinking about my budget. I was feeling a bit sick thinking about trying to pay for rent, utilities, loans, car payments, insurance, cell phone, food, gas and miscelleny on my piddly salary. I was trying to think of what I could do to make more money.  I was planning on asking for a raise. But I knew it was unlikely to get me far. Little did I know, that  a few days later I would be offered a job. A job with a pretty serious salary increase. It's not like I am going to trade my economy car in for an SUV and start wearing Manolo Blahniks, but I will be able to buy insurance for my kids. And we won't be living on peanut butter and popcorn.

3. Weigh the possibilities

The boys need space. They are active outdoor kids and I love that about them. I don't love the probable lyme disease that we are currently treating for Ez. But I love that they spend most of their time outside. I love that their knees are skinned and they are dirty until winter. Most city apt.s don't have the space my kids need. But my kids also want a cat and many country apt.s don't offer that option. Can we happily live in a city apt. that is a block from the YMCA and a huge park if we have a cat? Can we live in a country apt. that has gobs of space outside but no neighbors and no little critter for the kids to love? YEGADS. They voted for city with a cat. I made no promises.

4. Ya get what ya get.

And you try not to to get upset. I have applied for two apt.s now. I did not get the first one. I may not get the second one. Neither one was perfect, see #1. I am trying not to be too attached to the second apt. I applied for. I have not heard yet. It is a 25 minute drive to their school. It is close to friends. The yard is a postage stamp (with blueberries) but it is a hop to the Y and a great park and it is on a dead end street. We can have a cat.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Bullet Train and Other Things I Have Been Doing...

1. Loving My Job- Recently I described my job as the experience of getting on a bullet train on Monday morning and being spit out on Friday. I don't love the frenetic pace. I miss my own children but overall I love what I do. For real. I love working with my kids. I think about my students all of the time. I want to be the best teacher. I want to make a difference and I think I do. A tiny one. I am constantly thinking about how to be a better teacher. I have such deep empathy for what some of them have seen and lived through. 
It's a challenge and I like it, mostly. I feel like I am constantly weaving in and out of disequilibrium. Feeling one minute like, "Yes, I get this. I can do this." and the next moment trying to figure out what is going on and how to solve a new set of problems. I am getting better at enjoying this process. But I do have pleasant thoughts about one day knowing exactly what to do and how to do it every single time. Though I know that is not quite possible! 
I also love the people I work with. I have never been surrounded by so many YES! people. So many people who spend such an enormous volume of time, helping, caring, being positive, being that essential, bright, shiny light in so many people's lives.  I love it. The support is somewhat akin to my experience at a women's college. Only when I was in college I felt a little bit on the fringe and I don't anymore. 

2. Running- I started running in January around the same time I started my job. I needed to exercise. I needed it to be cheap and convenient. I now run at least 3 times a week for 40 minutes. I feel so good.  A good portion of my run is on a trail near a pond and it is beautiful and serene. I am convinced that this is essential for my sanity. I even run in Springfield after work.  At a park.  With a coworker. It's safe mom, don't worry.  

3. Getting excited about my mandolin. And thinking a lot about playing it. Regularly. Real soon. 

4. Looking for apartments. Which is turning out to be very depressing. I realized the other day that every time I find one that looks lovely but is unaffordable, I feel a bit rejected. As in, "This apartment is so great, it's lovely. I'd be comfortable here. But, nope, it was meant for someone else. Someone who has more money." And goshdarnnit. I worked my butt of to get where I am. I have a degree. A license. A real job. Debt.  And it's hard to find a rental that I can afford.  And they go fast here.  Superfast. 


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